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Deatrich Wise emerging as Patriots leader

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Deatrich Wise returned to the Patriots this offseason, signing a four-year deal with the team that drafted him in the fourth round of the 2017 NFL Draft. Wise had the best season of his career in 2020, picking up 49 tackles and the first touchdown of his football career, a fumble recovered in the end zone against the Raiders.

Adding weight, he added to his versatility, playing a career-high 565 snaps as he continued to make strides in the Patriots' multiple defense.

"I wanted see what was going on," said Wise on Thursday of free agency, before deciding to return to the Patriots, which he called, "The best place to come back to. I wanted to come back and I'm happy that I did."

Wise has a lot to be excited about aside from the contract that helped him pay off all his debt, including that of the house he had bought for his parents.

Also, former Arkansas teammate and friend Hunter Henry joined the Patriots whom Wise spoke glowingly aboud, excited to see Henry's hard work pay off and to find them re-united in New England.

"He catches everything, his hands are magnetic to leather," said Wise of the Patriots new tight end, but also pointing out how much he's enjoyed getting to know the entire 2021 free agency class.

"Pretty awesome guys, they all love to work, they all want to get better," said Wise of the sizable free agent class that included additions like Davon Godchaux, Henry Anderson and returns of Lawrence Guy and Carl Davis, as well as the drafting of Christian Barmore.

Able to interact with teammates after a 2020 offseason spent training in parks and backyards, Wise is using the time to get to know the new faces. "Find out what makes them them," said Wise.

Now, Wise and the Patriots look to lay the offseason work needed to improve on the team's 2020 7-9 record. As an established veteran and with a new long-term contract in hand, he's emerging as one of the team's next generation leaders.

"The thing with football, we have another shot," said Wise of bouncing back. "One, we have fans coming. Extremely happy about that. Guys are hungry. Everybody's coming here for one goal, to win.

"Embrace the journey and believe in the process."

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