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Larry Centers Press Conference - 7/30/2003

**Q: So what closed the deal for you? Why did you come to New England?

LC:**

Same story. I think this system fits what I do well. It gives me an opportunity to catch a lot of footballs and be productive, the things that I've done throughout my career. I'm excited about it.

**Q: Was this a long negotiation? Had they been contacted with you for a while? Or did it happen pretty quickly?

LC:** It happened pretty quickly from my standpoint. I basically just let my agent handle the whole deal. I was out on the golf course, and it worked out.

**Q: When he said to you, 'Hey the Patriots are interested," what was your take on that?

LC:** There was some interest way back…some months ago. The Patriots, along with a few other teams, called me and expressed some interest. No one was stepping up to the plate back then. When it came down to it, my agent thought that this was the best situation for me to go in. I agreed. I watched how the utilized the backs in their system for some years and I've had an appreciation for it. Back when Marc Edwards was here, I thought they did a great job of utilizing him in the passing game and I knew that I would fit into that role well.

**Q: When did you figure that you and Buffalo were going to part ways?

LC:** I never really saw it coming. One of our last meetings, the GM mentioned that I was going to be there for a while and I took him at face value, but it just didn't work out that way.

**Q: What are your impressions of this training camp?

LC:** I have respect for this team. It's hard not to have respect for this team. They've won quite a bit the past few years. They are only a couple of years removed from the Super Bowl. I think that this is a very well coached organization from everything I've seen on both sides of the ball and on special teams. That's something that's extremely impressive to me as a player. As a senior citizen in the game, it's important to me to try to get on a winning team and make a run at it.

**Q: Did you feel that you would be somewhere? Or did you think at all that you might not be?

LC:** I don't know if I can really explain it to you, but it's sort of a roller coaster ride when ever you're out there just floating around. At one point, I'm getting calls and people are really snooping around trying to see what's going on and then everything goes quiet for weeks. So, I just started doing the mental therapy to prepare myself to walk away from the game. I've had a pretty good career. I've been extremely productive with the things I've been asked to do over my career. I don't have anything to be ashamed of. If my career ended two years ago, I still would have accomplished some great things. I wasn't beat up or anything because nobody really jumped at the bait out there. I was prepared either way. I have been contemplating retirement for maybe a year or two. After I left Buffalo and the way I left Buffalo kind of threw me back into the old deal where I had something to prove. That's not necessarily something to prove to everybody else but things that I have to prove to myself still.

**Q: Are you going to miss Drew Bledsoe?

LC:** Absolutely. But we'll keep in touch on the phone.

**Q: Did you ever feel in any way that that wasn't a good fit because he liked to throw the ball down field?

LC:** With free agency, the league has really changed. Players move, coaches move. Things change a lot faster than it used to before free agency. Two years ago, I was in the Pro Bowl and was very productive on a not so good team, but individually I was pretty productive. When we got the new offensive coordinator in and Drew Bledsoe, the combination of the two probably kept me from being as productive as I was before they both came. That's not to knock or criticize anybody, it was a deal where Drew was much more comfortable and much more successful going down field than the guy we had in the position the previous year.

**Q: You mentioned about considering retirement. Now that you've been retained, how much longer would you like to play?

LC:** That's a good question. That's something that I've been tossing around for a little while. I really can't answer that question. I want to go out and I want to contribute to the best of my ability to this football team to this organization and just be the best player I can be for right now for this play.

**Q: [On retiring in a few years]

LC:** Well it's a one-year deal. I'm not really looking pass this year right now. I'm looking at this and I've done that throughout my career. In this game, you learn, especially as I mentioned before, the way things have changed so much faster now, you understand that you can't look too far down the road. You have injuries. You have changes; things that happen that are beyond our control. That's what I'm doing, just taking it one step at a time.

**Q: Every story that is written about you refers to the fact that you've caught more passes out of the backfield than anybody in history? Is that what you are most proudest of when you are looking at your accomplishments so far? Or are there other things that aren't reflected in your statistics?

LC:** The thing that I am most proud of about myself as a player…and I want to say this without sounding too arrogant…that with the opportunities I've been given, I feel very confident that I've done really well in terms of my effort, my hustle, in terms of displaying the heart of a guy who wants to win, who expects to win. I feel good. I like the person who I see in the mirror because of that. I like what I've been able to accomplish, not just statistically. I like having the respect of my former teammates, that's important to me, and present teammates.

**Q: You refer to yourself as a senior citizen of the game. When Kevin Faulk was talking about you earlier, he said the one question people in the locker room would want to ask you was, 'How did he do it?' How?

LC:** I talked to Kevin Faulk a little bit in meetings and they asked me how I lasted so long. I told them you have to be crazy. That helps, but after about eight years you really begin to understand the game and you know what to expect. It becomes a little bit easier to go through the training camps and stuff like that.

**Q: What will you do when football is finally over?

LC:** One of my number one goals is to get my handicap down to the single digits. (laughter)

**Q: You've saved some money?

LC:** I have a pretty decent lifestyle but nothing too extravagant.

**Q: Can you still be as productive as you have in some of your best years, if given the opportunity?

LC:** That's the key: If given the opportunity. Yes. If not, no. At my position everything depends on how many opportunities I'm given. I've made a niche catching the ball. I can go out, I can run routes, but I can't throw the ball to myself, I can't call plays for myself. All I can do is to be where I am supposee to be, hope that the coaching staff and the players lean on me a little bit.

**Q: Did you come here because you think that you will get that opportunity?

LC:** Yes.

**Q: Is this the best spot for you to get a lot of opportunities to do what you made a niche doing?

LC:** Yes

**Q: Did they give you any indication of that?

LC:** They gave me sort of an indication that my role was going to be similar to what I've been able to do over the years. And I've watched the system for a while. I like the way they draw the plays out of the hat.

**Q: Is it a hard system to learn at all?

LC:** I don't think so. I went through a period in Arizona where I had five different coordinators in six years, I think. So that conditioned me to learn new systems.

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