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LaFell prepared to "sacrifice"

The question was simple, and so was the answer.

Why did you want to come to New England?

"Because I had a chance to play with a Hall of Fame quarterback," answered Brandon LaFell, New England's new free agent wide receiver, late of the Carolina Panthers.

"The chance of getting the ball more… Wanted to be with a group of guys that put in work. Just really wanted to win.

"One day Cam [Newton, the Panthers QB] will be [in the Hall of Fame], probably, but he's not there now, and I feel like it was a better chance to get more balls and win up here than it was in Carolina. Nothing against those guys, but it's proven up here. We won last year in Carolina, but these guys have been winning for the last 10-plus years. So, why wouldn't I want to come to a winning organization?"

To be fair, Tom Brady is not yet enshrined in Canton, either. LaFell indicated he hadn't yet had a chance to speak with his new (and likely future Hall of Fame) passer, whom he said was "out of the country," but had talked at length with former LSU and now current Patriots teammate, running back Stevan Ridley.

"I called Ridley when I was at the airport, and he was out training on the West Coast. He was so excited, man. He was like, 'You've got to be lying to me right now.' I said, 'Man, I'm at the airport in Providence.' He said, 'We've got a bunch of young guys, but we need another veteran who can step in and help those guys grow. You can be one of those final pieces for us to take this thing to the next level.

"'You've got to come up here and be able to sacrifice the off-the-field life, put in the extra time in film and after practice.' He just kept saying the words 'sacrifice' and 'hard work.' [He said] 'If you're committed to doing that with the rest of us, you're going to help us win games."

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The 27-year-old seemed eager to make whatever sacrifices are necessary. What's unclear at this point is where exactly he'll line up in New England's offense. As a Panther, LaFell (6-2, 210) played significant snaps both on the outside and an in the slot, but refused to pigeonhole himself into one position or another.

"I think I'm very versatile," he declared. "It just depends where these guys want to put me. I just want to be wherever the ball's going to help the team win."

When LaFell eventually joins his new teammates on the practice field, he'll be wearing jersey number 19.

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