He hasn't played a game in the red, white and blue yet, but Patriots linebacker Rosevelt Colvin already feels at home in New England. Arguably the biggest free agent addition in franchise history, Colvin knows that his new job comes with high expectations.
In his first four seasons in the NFL Colvin has recorded 26 sacks, including 10.5 in each of the last two seasons. He joins a Patriots defense that hasn't had double-digit sack leader since Willie McGinest recorded 11 in 1995. And New England hasn't had a single player record back-to-back, 10-plus sack seasons since Andre Tippett notched 18.5 and 16.5 in 1984 and 1985 respectively.
That being said, as much as there is positive anticipation surrounding Colvin, there is also a degree of caution. In Chicago, the 6-3, 245-pound Colvin played alongside one of the games most dominant defensive players in Bears All-Pro middle linebacker Brian Urlacher. In the Windy City the fans are wondering if Urlacher, who recently signed a lucrative long-term contract extension, will see his game hurt any by the loss of Colvin. Around New England, sports fans are wondering if it could be the other way around.
Colvin believes both players will be just fine.
"I am Rosevelt Colvin and Brian is Brian Urlacher," Colvin said. "I am my own entity and he is too. If you put us both on the field by ourselves, no we won't be successful because it is a team game. Everybody has to work together and everybody has to do their job. I know if I put him up against anybody I am putting my money on Brian to win every time. And I know he would do the same for me. I am me and he is he. I am here and he is there. I've got my teammates here and he's got his teammates in Chicago. I wish him the best of luck and when we play him I feel like we'll win. I am not really worried about it. I think he'll be successful and I think I'll be successful."
More than who exactly is playing next to him, Colvin believes he just needs to build a relationship with all of his new defensive allies.
"We had a lot of camaraderie, a lot of chemistry," Colvin said of his time in Chicago. "Not just me and Brian, but Warrick [Holdman, another Bears linebacker]. We had an opportunity to play together for three years and we developed a tight relationship. That's something I think they have with the secondary [in New England]. They've been together for so long. These linebackers have been together for so long. Just the team, there are a lot of older guys here. So all I have to do is get to the point where I have that chemistry with everybody here that I had with Brian and Warren. Then it's going to be icing on the cake."
Colvin is also looking forward to playing for one of the leagues premier defensive coaches in Bill Belichick. He admitted that the opportunity to play for a defensive coach like Belichick was one of the many factors involved with his move to New England.
"He has a history with defense," Colvin said of Belichick. "I believe he is a defensive-minded coach. I mean obviously you do both, but like I said he's been there. He's coached LT. He's coached Pepper [Johnson]. He's coached linebackers. He's just been around for a long time. I don't know what he is thinking half the time. Like I said, I just work here so I just show up and do what they ask me to do."
What he will be asked to do is play outside linebacker in a 3-4 every Sunday this fall, brining speed, athleticism and an impact third-down player to the New England defense. And while the projected sacks are still a few months away, following his offseason work and mini camps Colvin is happy with the decision he made this spring in free agency.
"This was the best situation for me," the former Purdue Boilermaker said. "Money wasn't the only factor for me when I made my decision. I am married. I have kids. I have my parents, my sister and my friends. I didn't want to move to Oregon and nobody would ever see me play. So I had other things. I wanted my family to be comfortable. I wanted to be able to see my family, my mother, my father and things like that."
And what about the money, did he turn down more to go to other, more friendly climates like Arizona where the sun shines year round?
"Yeah, but they have been 4-12 for like the last eight years," Colvin said with a smile. "Everything was mixed in [the decision]. There were a lot of factors in there and the Patriots came out on top."
Now Patriots fans will just have to wait and see if Colvin is the impact defensive player that he is expected to be.