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Replay: Patriots Unfiltered Fri Apr 09 - 12:00 AM | Sun Apr 11 - 11:59 PM

Bryan Cox Press Conf.

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            **Q: Well how does it feel to be in a Patriots uniform?**  

BC: It feels pretty good. I'm just excited that finally I'm getting prepared to play football. It's been a long road coming back from the injury and now I'm just starting to feel good and healthy, so it feels good to be playing football and I'm happy that I'm staying in the AFC East.

Q: Why don't you think anybody else called earlier?

BC: In fact, I did receive calls. Because I was still at a point where I wasn't healthy, and with some teams I probably wouldn't be able to pass a physical. So we knew that it would be a June, July type of thing just because of the nature of the injury and the healing process, so that was fine. We received some calls, some were serious, some were just checking to see what the availability or what my status was, so it was fine.

Q: Were you waiting for this call [from the Patriots]?

BC: I've been up here twice to take physicals. I'd been in conversations with them. I had some real serious conversations with New Orleans as well. And the rest of the teams were just talking, hey, you know, what would happen if it came down to a one-year deal? 'What would you want?' 'What would you want to do?' So there were opportunities.

Q: Were the Patriots your first priority because you were familiar with Bill Belichick and his system and could make up time a little faster?

BC: No, not really. I just think that throughout the process, my agent was just saying, 'Look, here are your best opportunities, it's either going to be New England or New Orleans and we'll just see how it plays out.' We knew that early in the year. After Levon Kirkland was cut and Seattle picked him up, Seattle was interested. We received calls from Denver, and you know, we had some opportunities. But the two serious teams from my agent's position were going to be the Patriots or the Saints. So with that, I just continued to work. I couldn't do anything until I got healthy. That was my chief concern. Initially when I had the injury, they told me it would be a five or six-month process to heal and I thought they were joking. I thought it would be like two months and I'd be ready. But they were right. And so my chief concern at that point was just trying to get back healthy.

Q: Could you talk about your relationship with Coach Belichick?

BC: I just believe that he's the best defensive coach, game day, that I've ever played for. It's just flat out that simple. And I've played for some really, really good defensive minds. With Dave Wannstedt, who was really good, and George Hill, my first ever coach in this league wasn't a defensive coordinator, he later was a coordinator for Miami and Tom Olivadotti… I've been around some good defensive coaches. But Bill Belichick is the best defensive game day coach I've ever played for.

Q: Why is that?

BC: Well, I think his voice never gets louder than this. He's not a rah-rah guy. In the first quarter he can tell you how the game's going to play out. 'Here's what you're going to see the rest of the game and here's what you have to be thinking.' And he's very rarely wrong. And he's just so calm. You don't get the chaos from the sideline as you do in some other places. And you need that on game day as a player. You don't to need to be getting to the point where you're so frustrated on the sideline where you get out to the field and you have a lapse, a mental lapse or a letdown. So he's just good at that on game day.

Q: What do you bring to the team on and off the field?

BC: I think that if you look at my history, I've been a leader everywhere I've been. I still think that I can play. I'm not a player that you would build a team around anymore, but I am very capable of doing what is being asked of me. And that's basically play strong in the running game and rush the pass on third down. I can fulfill those roles and I can do that very well. And that's what I'm going to bring. Off the field, you're going to get a guy that hasn't been in a lot of trouble, hasn't done a lot of wild things. And you're going to get a guy that's going to show up to speak to some kids and do some things when I have time. This season my kids won't be here, so a lot of times on Monday I'm flying back to Atlanta to spend the day with my kids. And that commitment from me is the most important thing in my life. More important than football or anything else are my kids. And because of my divorce a couple of years ago, that's the forefront. And last year in New York, my kids came to live with me, but this year they say, 'Daddy, we're tired of transferring schools.' They've been to five schools in two years. Now I understand that, so I got my stepmom to come in and keep them, but as often as I can, I'll be on a plane getting back to spend some time with my kids.

Q: You said you were happy to stay in the AFC East. Talk about that.

BC: Well this is, for me, what I've thought is one of the best divisions in football. It's lost a little competitiveness over the last couple of years, and now you see maybe Tennessee, Baltimore, Jacksonville, that whole division is tough. But this division, once you get in here and you understand what a team's going to try to do to you, the type of style, the style of play, you get a couple of teams who are just going to try to run you over, you know, Buffalo, but I don't know what they're going to do this year. You get the teams like Miami that are going to run the power game, and that's just my playing style. The West Coast style teams don't fit my playing style because I can't cover. You are what you are. I'm a run stopper and a pass rusher. That's what I am.

Q: Have you checked in with Drew [Bledsoe] at all to make sure there's no hard feelings for those hits over the years?

BC: Hey, if you're the enemy, you're the enemy. I don't have any friends when I'm on the opposite team.

Q: What was your view of this team from the outside?

BC: Well, I think that we have a lot of good guys that try hard. We've got to upgrade the talent level. I think teams that… the players on this team that get paid have to perform. Every good team that you see in this league, the guys that make the money are the best player on the team. Then you have to have some young guys come in and help you play. And then you need leadership, a lot of teams now always talk about youth, you know, we want to get faster, we want to get younger. But you can't beat experience, I don't care what you do. Because he might be faster than me, but I'm outthinking him, I'm going to get there at the same time or before he does. So you need a nice mix, but your best players have to be the guys making the money.

Q: Did you notice that after Parcells left, the [Patriots] got less tough?

BC: No, because I wasn't here, I wasn't focusing or concentrating on the Pats. My whole thing is when I'm on a team, that's my team, that's my home, that's my family. Anything outside of that, I could care less about.

Q: Do you think the offensive coaches will pick your brain?

BC: Charlie Weis and I, we used to talk when I was in New York. So we'll talk, but I'm a player, I'm a player, I'm not a coach. And from that perspective, I'll pull those guys to the side and say, 'Just to help you a bit, you're giving this away.' That's what a leader does. I'm trying to get myself in position where Sept. 9, I'm ready to play football. I'm just getting here, I can't just come in and just take over a team, it has to be a natural progression, it has to be, 'I'm doing my job and I'm in shape and I know where I'm supposed to be,' before you can start doing those things. And right now, my focus is on getting to where I need to be.

Q: How well do you know this defense?

BC: I didn't look at my playbook last night. The terminology is different from what it was in New York, but it's the same defense as far as the movements and idiosyncrasies of what's happening, but they're just called different things, so that's just the biggest thing, so with the transition, there's not going to be that much difference, I just have to pick up some words.

Q: How do you like working with Pepper Johnson?

BC: Just fine. You know, you played with him, and you knew what he was and how intense he was and now you come in here and he's coaching. I'm happy for him.

Q: How well do you know some of your defensive teammates?

BC: Well, you know I've talked to you about Lawyer [Milloy], he's the top or the second-best safety in the league. When Ted [Johnson]'s healthy, he's very capable. You've got Tedy Bruschi who can play anywhere. Defensive line, you hope you get some help in that position. You've got some big rookies that look good, Bobby [Hamilton] had a wonderful year last year and I've played with him. You know what you've got with Otis Smith, he's going to go in there and nobody's going to catch the short pass because he's going to be all over them. And we've just got to bring along some young guys that can maybe help us a little bit and I've got to try to step in and help wherever I can. Whether that's being the best third down pass rusher that I can be or the best backup I can be or whether it's stepping into a starting role. All those things have yet to be determined, and that will be all based on what my performance over the next couple of weeks is.

Q: You were looking pretty sharp in number zero, can you explain that?

BC: Well, the biggest thing is, hopefully I'll just make it through the first couple of preseason games with it because I'm negotiations with [Mike] Vrabel to try to get 51. Because the two years that I didn't wear 51, we were 3-13 and 6-10, so I need to get in that number. We'll just have to wait until some people get cut, because no 50 numbers are available, there's only one 90 number available or something and I'm not playing no linebacker with number 95. So give me zero.

Q: How are the negotiations coming with that number?

BC: Well, we're just in the beginning stages but somebody's got to get cut in a 50 number before we can make a move.

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