New England Patriots safety John Lynch addresses the media during his postgame press conference following the Patriots preseason game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday, August 17, 2008.
Q: What were your thoughts on the reaction from the crowd?
JL: It's always nice. Any time we come back, the people treat us wonderfully. We were here for 11 years and it feels like a long time ago now, but this place will always be a part of family's heart. It's nice to get a warm welcome when you get home.
Q: You were here a couple of years ago. There was a lot of emotion with you being with a different team. Is it the same emotion?
JL: It's the preseason and I just got here two days ago. To be honest, I'm just trying to learn my plays. I was literally in New England early in the week, went home and talked about it with my family, then got on plane to meet with coaches and trying to get up to speed. The plan was just to go in for 5-to-10 plays and got that in. I was a little rusty, but it felt good.
Q: How different was it to come out and not be wearing the red?
JL: Not wearing red. Not wearing whatever those Broncos colors were, but I'm excited about it.
Q: When the day comes that you're actually going to retire, what colors will you wear then?
JL: To start, the Hall of Fame, that's something that I don't control.
Q: If you actually got in?
JL: My thought on that is always go do your work on the field and that stuff takes care of itself. I think it's a bust so you don't actually wear a helmet. I'll represent all of the teams that I played for. [Tampa Bay], obviously, was a huge part of my career. I grew up here as a football player, won a Super Bowl. I'm real proud about what we did for this organization. We move on, but this will always be in my heart.
Q: I know you left on not the greatest of terms. Did you patch things up back here?
JL: You know, the day I left here, you understand that it's business and you move forward. Yes, the answer is yes.
Q: How do you think the Patriots will use you this year?
JL: We'll see. I'm learning a lot of different roles and I think a lot of that is controlled by how you go out and play. We're feeling each other out. I think they're excited in having me and using me in a number of different roles and I'm excited about that opportunity and now I've got to go out and learn it.
Q: Did you consider retirement at the end of last year when things didn't quite go as well as you thought they would?
JL: My plan was to play all along. Things didn't go right in Denver. I had a feeling in the offseason, in my gut, they weren't and I tried to make it work. It wasn't working so you move forward. I left there on good terms with everyone and I was always going to continue playing if I had a great opportunity somewhere and I consider this a great opportunity. I'm excited about it.
Q: Is this your first trip back as a player?
JL: No, I've been back once before.
Q: What is it like having the prospect of playing alongside Rodney Harrison?
JL: I've always had great admiration for the way that Rodney plays the game. Our careers have kind of coincided in terms of what it's been. He's been in 15 years. I've been in 16. I think he plays the game with tremendous passion and excitement. It's fun to get to play with those types of guys, in addition to the rest of the guys in the locker room.
Q: What are some of the differences in this defense from other defenses you've played in?
JL: I've got a thick playbook, believe me. Last night was the first good night of sleep that I'd gotten this week because I've been in that book, trying to learn it all. There are different approaches to things. They've obviously been very successful and I'm excited for the challenge because it really is a challenge, even after playing 16 years, to learn this scheme and they're using me in a variety of different roles so I've got to continue working.
Q: Is that the exciting part to you, what the Patriots have done working with veteran players?
JL: I think when someone has a track record and they talk to you about how they envision using you, you can listen to them. And when they create a clear picture, you can say, 'Alright, that works,' because you've seen it work before and I'm excited about that.
Q: John, talk about the fans' reaction a little bit.
JL: It's preseason so it's a little more low key. Ultimately, it's about football, but it is certainly nice. I was focusing on just trying to play, but the people were wonderful just as the always have been. That makes you feel good.
Q: The last time you were here, you got a little emotional coming off the field, did you feel a little bit of that still?
JL: I have a great affinity in my heart. Like I said, I think the circumstances are that I've been here once before since then and I had the opportunity this offseason to come back again with Mike [Alstott]'s retirement and see a lot of people. I think you just celebrate the fond memories that we had here.