Patriots tight end Chris Baker addresses the New England media during his conference call on Tuesday, March 3, 2009.
Q: Chris, how did this process take place? Who contacted you and did you take any other visits?
CB: No. Coach Belichick contacted my agent when I was officially released by the Jets. It was the only visit I took. I was very impressed. Obviously, I have seen the success that New England has had over the past few years. It was kind of a quick process - that's where I wanted to be.
Q: How strange is it to switch sides in this rivalry?
CB: The NFL is a business, so it is part of the game. It is just moving forward. I am very happy to be joining a team like the Patriots. Obviously, they have a ton of success, great players, great coaches and things like that. So, it was a very easy decision for me.
Q: What kind of opportunity do you see for yourself here?
CB: Whatever role. For me, the most important thing is winning. Here in New York we had a few more rookies and things like that, but the big thing for me is to just go out and do whatever is needed to get to where everybody wants to go, which is the Super Bowl. That is the only thing I am really concerning myself with - whatever I'm asked to do is what I'm going to do.
Q: What are your thoughts in playing with one Hall of Fame quarterback in Brett Favre one year and then coming to a team and playing with a quarterback who will probably end up there as well in Tom Brady?
CB: Obviously, that is a unique situation and I can't imagine too many people have had the opportunity to do that. Brett Favre was great and everything, but I definitely look forward to playing with Tom. He's a great quarterback who knows everything about the game. He's been very successful and I hope to click with him. I am really looking forward to that.
Q: Did that thought cross your mind at all from going from a Favre to a Brady?
CB: Absolutely. I thought about what Brett brought to the table as far as the things he's done in the past and obviously being able to play with Tom is just a great opportunity for me. I look forward to it. I think it will be a lot of fun.
Q: What do you think is your greatest strength as a player?
CB: I think for me it is the ability to do both - the ability to block and be a person who can get open and catch the ball. I think I can play in any system. I think having the ability to do both can help any offense. So, it's a combination of things.
Q: You've had more catches against the Patriots than any other team in the NFL. Any reason for your success against them?
CB: Actually I didn't know that. I always got up a little bit more for that game to be honest because they were always the best team. Besides the '02 year they have won the division every year in the AFC East since I have been in the league. So, I always looked forward to playing them or maybe it just could have worked out that way. I always really try my best to have good games against New England because they have been the best in the division since I've been in the league.
Q: Will the Jets now be that team that you get up for?
CB: Obviously there's history there. But, the most important thing for me will be to come in, fit in and do the things that are going to help the team win. I just want to fit in and do whatever for the team.
Q: How trying was your year last year with the Jets given your contract and the other tight ends that they brought in?
CB: I just tried to be as professional as possible. Obviously, it wasn't the easiest situation. The problem was really more between me and the front office. It wasn't with the guys that came in - the tight ends. We had a real good time and things like that. It was never that kind of situation. It obviously wasn't the easiest, but at the same time they were two good guys and we got along fine. It was the coaches. Once it was all hashed out it worked out fine.
Q: Was it hurtful for you at all that after you had a career year they would use a first round pick on a tight end?
CB: Like I said, it's the business of the NFL. It was one of those things… that's where they felt they needed to address and that's what they did. I can't really get too upset about it. Things happen. The situations around the league - there is always something going on. Once you understand that as a player you go about your business and only control what you can control.
Q: Now that you have had a chance to sit face to face with Coach Belichick does he remind you of your college coach?
CB: No, not really. I loved playing for Coach Saban. He was a really good coach and we had a good relationship, still do. Hopefully, I can build the same relationship with Coach Belichick. He seems like a great guy so far. We have only had a couple of conversations, but hopefully we can continue to build the player coach relationship. I look forward to that.
Q: What were your thoughts on the regular season game here last year?
CB: That was probably one of the most fun games I've ever played. It was a big game for us when I was with the Jets. I believe we were 6-3 at the time and [Dustin] Keller wasn't playing that Thursday. We had a lot of things on the line at that point in the season. It was a lot of things and it was a good game. We were able to win. It was a fun game and we had a good time.
Q: Do you have a history with the other Patriots tight ends?
CB: I haven't had much conversation with either of them. I met Benjamin [Watson] back when we played in the playoff game because I knew Daniel [Graham], we came in the same year and I met Ben through Daniel, but it was one of those brief things after the game - wishing good luck and things like that. They are both great guys and I look forward to working with them as well.
Q: Is there one game over your career that particularly stands out for one reason or another?
CB: There are two games that really stand out for me. The two playoff games we had. The game in 2004 out in San Diego with overtime and how we were able to pull that game out, and the following week we were in Pittsburgh, who was 15-1 at that time, and we had them on the ropes. We didn't get it done. I think we missed a couple of field goals. Those were the two most exciting games for me, being in the playoffs and how tight the games were. Those were the biggest contests that I have played in so far in my career. Hopefully, I will have the chance to play in some more in the near future.