Patriots Chairman and CEO Robert K. Kraft:
RKK: Well, it's nice to be back. We were just chatting coming down here - this is our 23rd chance to welcome our first draft pick - and we think back to our first one, when we welcomed Willie McGinest. We had won 14 games in the previous four years from 1990 to 1993. We were drafting number four to get Willie and I remember in that draft when we welcomed a lot of the people we'd say, 'Welcome to New England', and they didn't know where New England was. I asked Cyrus [Jones] on the way down and he knew where it was so that was a very positive upgrade. The good news is Cyrus will be wearing a special number to our family, number 24, and there's a lot of good karma that goes with that number. The transition with the way college ball is today to the NFL, it's a big transition, but he couldn't have gone to a better prep school in Alabama where being athletic, versatile - he went to Alabama as a wide receiver and converted to cornerback. I know down there with Coach [Nick] Saban football has to be important to you, and I know how important it is to him. We're very excited to have him here and I was asking him if there was some connection that we could have between the two of us, going back to when Jerod Mayo said, 'Mayo and Kraft go well together'. He said Clamp and Kraft go well together, and I guess Clamp Clampington is a name that your best friend gave you. So, without any further ado it's my great pleasure to introduce number 24, Cyrus Jones.
Q: How does it feel to now be a New England Patriot?
CJ: Unbelievable. I wouldn't want to be anywhere else. Honestly, it's a dream come true being in the best program in the National Football League and the best organization. Great ownership, great coaching, great locker room. I'm excited.
Q: What has the last week been like for you?
CJ: It's been a whirlwind. Just hearing my name called, it's been a dream of mine since I was a little kid and first picked up a football, and just my hard work paying off and to have Coach [Bill Belichick] and Mr. [Robert] Kraft see something in me to want to give me an opportunity to come make this football team better, it means the world to me.
Q: What sort of advice has the coaching staff given now that it is time to prepare for football and forget about the draft?
CJ: It's just time to play football now, time to get ready to come out here and win games. It's no more running around in tights and running [40-yard dashes] and stuff like that. It's time to put back on the pads and get after it. I can't wait.
Q: What do you think you bring to this team?
CJ: I think I just bring a versatile playmaker, a competitor, a smart player, and a team-first guy always. I just want to do anything that I can to help this team win games and get another Super Bowl.
Q: How do you plan on going about proving yourself to the coaching staff here?
CJ: Football is everything to me. I eat, sleep, and breathe it. I couldn't imagine doing anything else. My plan is to just come in here, be humble, work hard from day one, earn the respect of the veterans in the locker room, and earn the trust of my coaches. Like I said before, get out there with any opportunity that I'm given and make the best of trying to make this team better.
Q: How do you feel about the history of the number 24 here in New England that you'll be wearing this season?
CJ: [There's] definitely a lot of history. Guys like Ty Law, Darrelle Revis, great defensive backs and great players. [They're] two of the greatest players that ever stepped foot in the National Football League and there's definitely a legacy behind the number, and I want to make my own legacy with the number.
Q: What did you know about Ty Law at all from his playing days?
CJ: I knew who Ty Law was before I came here and watched him as a young kid still trying to learn the game, but I definitely remember watching him make a lot of plays on TV.
Q: Have you seen any similarities here yet between Coach Nick Saban's program at Alabama and the program here?
CJ: Before I came here and going through the draft process and also knowing Coach Saban and Coach [Bill] Belichick's relationship - and Coach Saban having coached under him prior to going to Alabama - I knew there were similarities. Our program is based a lot on what they do here so I was expecting it to be a program based on discipline and principles similar to that, and just hard working, blue-collar type of atmosphere so I was excited for it.
Q: Do you think you can come in and help on special teams right away?
CJ: Definitely, definitely. Special teams are a key part of the game and I'm a punt returner. I enjoy that. That's one of the things I love most about playing football. I love having the ball in my hands and being able to make a play for my team, so I'm looking forward to being back there returning.
Q: When did you arrive here in New England?
CJ: I got up here on Thursday.
Q: Did you pick up the suit when you got up here?
CJ: No, I already had it.
Q: So you haven't had a real indoctrination into New England weather then yet?
CJ: Exactly. It's pretty nice out right now. I wish I could stay out here.
Q: How much of an influence was your father growing up in your pursuit of professional football?
CJ: My father - he was my first role model, my first coach. I never actually played for him but I call him my first coach. He was the one that instilled in me a lot of values that got me to this point. He guided me in the right direction. He was the first one to put the ball in my hands and introduce me to the game that I love.
Q: Would you say that you got your competitive edge from him?
CJ: Definitely. I think my dad is very competitive but I'm a different type of competitor than he is. He's more quiet and laid back. He was a basketball player so obviously [he was] on the court, but on the field I'm more intense, very highly competitive. But I'd definitely say I got my first sense of competitiveness from my dad.
Q: Have you gotten a chance to talk to Dont'a Hightower at all about the transition from Alabama to New England?
CJ: I haven't actually talked to him yet. I just asked somebody where he was but I'm pretty sure he'll tell me the same things that I've already been hearing. Just the similarities from Alabama and it just being that type of environment where you've just got to come in, earn the respect of the veterans in the locker room, just do your job, and wait for your number to be called.
Q: How do you feel about going against a guy like Tom Brady in practice?
CJ: I grew up a Baltimore Ravens fan so any time that we played the Patriots I definitely was scared of Tom Brady. Obviously, he's one of the greatest quarterbacks to step foot into this league and I'm just honored to be a part of his team. He's a winner and everybody likes winning. I consider myself a winner so I'm looking forward to working with him and trying to get to another Super Bowl and win it.
Q: Have you gotten to really meet anybody in the short time since you've arrived?
CJ: I haven't met many people. I got in around noon yesterday but it was a whirlwind yesterday. We were signing paperwork and things like that, meeting all the coaches, sat in meetings, so I met some of the players but not many of them.
Q: What's your general philosophy towards social media when you come to a team like this that has a strict reputation in that aspect?
CJ: Social media is one of those things where you have to control and just discipline yourself to not pay too much attention to it. As you get older people, tend to stray away from social media and I'm already starting to, at least trying to, and just being more aware of what I put out there and knowing that I can't respond to everything that somebody says. That's definitely something that myself and fellow rookies just have to understand, that we have to be responsible in that aspect, that we're not only representing ourselves but our families and this organization.
Q: Would say social media can be a real mine field out there for athletes such as you?
CJ: Yes, sir. It's definitely something that you can get sucked in to and it can be a negative thing, but the best thing to do is try to monitor it and help use it for positivity.
Q: How does playing with a chip on your shoulder help your game out on the field?
CJ: I think it's motivation. Any time I hear somebody say I can't do something, or I hear any type of negativity towards my game, or anybody doubting me it just motivates me to go out there and prove them wrong and let my play do the talking on the field. It elevates me to another level I think, and anytime you can use negativity from the outside as also your internal self-motivation, it only can make you better.