Q: Could you talk about your thinking about signing a one-year deal?
LB: A one-year deal is, I think, just the best thing to do for both parts. There's really no thinking. I'm just ready to play for the New England Patriots and ready to just contribute and help any way I can.
Q: Did it just feel right for you from the start?
LB: Definitely. It felt right from the start. New England was one of the teams I was hoping was interested in me because of what Mr. Kraft has done with the organization, the success that they've built and obtained over the years, and to just play for a coach that knows what he's doing and really knows how to win. That's definitely what I wanted to come to: a winning organization.
Q: Do you feel an advantage having played for Romeo Crennel and being familiar with this system?
LB: Definitely. From Romeo being with the Patriots, he brought a lot of the defense over to Cleveland, so I'm familiar with the system and that's what I plan on doing-just kind of getting familiar with the system again and the terminology that these guys use and trying to help the team win.
Q: What was last season like with the Detroit Lions? As the season went on, was their just a sense of disbelief that you were going to go 0-16?
LB: Definitely. It was disbelief. Going into the year, you always think that you'll be a competitive team, you'll get some wins. Everybody felt that we had a good team, but we didn't get it in the win column. Going all along in the season it was just one game at a time just like any other season, just trying to get a win, but unfortunately, we just didn't get that.
Q: Did going through something like that make you want to ensure you went to a winning team in free agency?
LB: Definitely. I spoke to some of the guys that I know around the league, just discussing that with the wins that I have-that a lot of people have-not being a part of a winning team definitely takes a toll on you. Everybody wants to win in this league, but everybody is not fortunate enough to be on winning teams. But I had a choice to be on a winner and I chose that, and I'm just excited for the challenge. I'm just ready to be a part of the New England Patriots and learn the system and do the things that the coaches need me to do.
Q: Do you feel that your play dropped off last year? There were reports that you were having trouble adapting to the Lions' system. Do you agree with that?
LB: I don't agree with it. It was different from what I was used to in Cleveland. It was totally different; I feel like I still played well. I did what the coaches asked me to do and I played within their system. That's all I can really do. I proved that I was coachable in listening to the coaches and doing what they wanted me to do. That's all I can do as a player. My play was different just because of the different scheme. I wasn't playing the exact way that I was in Cleveland-the same defense-but I still feel like I played well.
Q: Do you enjoy taking on some of the better receivers, like the Chad Johnsons of the world?
LB: Definitely. I love those challenges. I got to play against the Steelers twice a year, Cincinnati twice a year with Chad and [T.J.] Houshmandzadeh, and Baltimore with those receivers, so it was definitely great to play in that league because you got to play them twice a year. I'm always up for a challenge against big-time receivers. I feel like if you can do well against them, then your peers will respect you. That's really all I can ask for.
Q: What are your thoughts on T.O. being in the AFC East now and have you played against him much in the past?
LB: I've never matched up with him. I've always wanted to play against him. I've always wanted to play against all of the guys that everybody says are the best, so that's definitely something that I look forward too: playing against T.O. now that he's going to be in the league. I'm definitely excited about that and [playing against] all the other receivers-there're a lot of other good receivers in that division. I mean, this is the NFL. I'm just excited about that overall, just everything.
Q: There was a report that initially you walked away from a four-year deal with the Patriots. Is that true or an erroneous report?
LB: It's probably just an erroneous report.
Q: So there was never a multi-year deal offered by the Patriots?
LB: I really don't know. That's just my agent and New England, the money guys. I didn't have anything to do with that. I just went up there for a visit, just to meet the coaches. I had a great visit and I didn't get into the numbers or the logistics of anything.
Q: You didn't exactly come out of a football powerhouse in college. How did you end up at Duquesne?
LB: My high schools' history wasn't that great in football. My junior year was one of our best years and we won three games. My senior year we won 10 games and went to the state semi-final game and lost. After that, that's when a lot of the recruiters came, so those seniors-which included me-didn't really get the benefit from it. The underclassmen, juniors and sophomores, got the benefit from that winning season and we didn't get many looks. From that year, I just went around pretty much shopping myself around. I was interested in just getting away, and I looked at Pennsylvania, went to some schools, visited some schools, and chose Duquesne because it was a great school education-wise, and
I was first and football was second. That's pretty much how I went to Duquesne.