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Darius Butler Conference Call - 4/25/2009

Patriots 2nd round draft pick (41st overall) Darius Butler addresses the New England media during his conference call on Saturday, April 25, 2009.

Q:What are your initial thoughts about being drafted by the Patriots?

DB:It's great. I'm going to a great team that's been in the Super Bowl every other year. I'm just ready to go in there. They've got some veteran [players], learn from those guys, bust my hump and do whatever I've got to do to help the team.

Q:What was your visit like? I know that Bill Belichick came up to UConn's Pro Day, but what has your contact been like with him?

DB:Actually, there wasn't too much contact after my Pro Day. Like you said, I met with those guys at my Pro Day before I worked out. I met with the D-coordinator and went over some schemes and over some board work, and actually a lot of the things they did were similar to things we did in college. I was looking forward to the opportunity if it came across, and obviously I did enough to impress them enough for them to pick me, and I'm happy to be here.

Q:Was Bill Belichick the only head coach that came to your Pro Day?

DB:I believe so. I think he was. The Patriots actually ran my workouts, pretty much. They ran the drills that I did, but I think he was the only head coach there.

Q:What did that tell you about the Patriots' level of interest?

DB:I actually talked to Mike Mayock before I worked out and he told me that Coach Belichick doesn't usually come to Pro Days. I don't know if it was the geographical convenience or that he was interested in some players there, but it worked out and I guess that he was interested enough to take me.

Q:How meaningful is it for you to come the New England Patriots, having played college ball in Connecticut?

DB:It's good. They have the same standards as I had in college. [They're] really disciplined. It's about hard work and doing your role for the greater [good] of the team. That's what the Patriots are about and they're about winning championships and that's what I'm about. Like I said, I look forward to the opportunity to go up there and help the team.

Q:Where were you today and how did the day go? Did you get a call from Belichick?

DB:I'm actually down in South Florida at a hotel. My parents put together a little draft party for me. A lot of family and friends came over and we watched the draft and we got kind of anxious. I was getting a little nervous. I had to loosen my tie a little bit, but when I saw those guys get those back-to-back picks—the 40 and 41—I had a feeling that that might be the landing spot for me. My agent called me and also my head coach from college texted me. Like you said, Bill Belichick gave me a call and I also talked to Mr. Kraft, so it was a good phone conversation and I'm just ready to get up there and work.

Q:Following up on what you said about the Patriots' work ethic and playing for Randy Edsall at UConn, what has Randy taught you, in terms of being ready for the NFL?

DB:Like you said, the work ethic is the number one thing, because everybody at the next level is talented. I know I'm talented. I'm confident in my physical gifts, but that can only keep you in the game or get you so far. It becomes a mental game and obviously film study, how hard you work in the offseason in the weight room and things like that…I know I want to get stronger, I want to get smarter as far as the game goes, and I look forward to doing that in New England.

Q:What parts of the game do you feel you excel at and what parts do you feel you could improve at?

DB:I can improve in all aspects of my game. Like I said, I think I have good physical tools; I'm athletic. I can get stronger and I look forward to improving all of my game. Now it's my profession, it's my job, it's all I have to do to make my livelihood. I'm looking forward to the challenge and I'm also looking forward to the opportunity.

Q:Is there anyone you model yourself after?

DB:Actually, I model myself after Asante Samuel. He [was] obviously a great Patriot and I model myself after him. I've been compared to him by a lot of DB coaches going around on my visits and workouts in the league, and hopefully I can have the same kind of success he had early in his career, the last couple years when he was a Patriot. Like I said, I know I have to work to get to that level, and I'm looking forward to putting in all of that work.

Q:Where are you in South Florida?

DB:I'm at the Westin Diplomat in Hollywood, Florida.

Q:Is there a lot of pride to be coming from UConn on what is probably the program's most successful draft weekend ever?

DB:I'm very proud. All of us guys came in to college with a chip on our shoulders because we felt like we were a kind of overlooked. Actually, four of us got drafted today. Donald [Brown] went to the Colts in the first round. I went to the patriots. Will Beatty went to the Giants, and Cody [Brown] just got drafted to the Cardinals. Obviously, they have some more guys that are still waiting to get picked, but it's a big day for UConn, especially as far as how high we got drafted. But we know this is just one step

Q:Have you thought at all about lining up across from Tom Brady in practice and what that might be like?

DB:I was actually talking about that with my brother. He was like 'you know, you're going to be doing these mini camps and training camp, and you're going to be lining up with Tom Brady and Randy Moss, coming from playing whoever you played in college.' It's obviously going to be a big jump, but I feel like if I can prepare and play with those guys and just nitpick at whatever I can get from those guys, from their brains, then that's the better for me.

Q:What do you have to do to hold your own against Randy Moss?

DB:Oh, man. We'll see. We'll see, because like I said, I'm a confident player and I'm confident in my abilities and I know I can get better. That's my goal. I'm going against the best every day, so I've got to hold my own.

Q:How much did you talk to Willis McGahee during this process?

DB:A lot. Probably at least twice a week we just kind of talked, kind of seeing where I was at, where I was headed. He was actually supposed to make it [to my draft party]. He didn't make it because of something medical, but he's been great throughout this process. Willis, Tyvon Branch, he's been great letting me know what's coming and how it's going to go, and also Donald Thomas. Both of those guys are here at my party and it was just a great day.

Q:Was there any advice that Willis gave you that stuck out?

DB:Just pretty much take care of what I can take care of. Just to take care of yourself because I can't really control where I'm picked or what the media is saying. All I can control are my workouts, my interviews and things like that.

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