One week you’re playing against a team, two weeks later, you’re playing for them.
Such is life in the NFL sometimes. Just ask Johnson Bademosi, who wore the Honolulu Blue of Detroit in Week 3 of this past preseason versus New England. Today, he’s sporting the red, silver, and blue of the Patriots.
“Yeah. The trade was a surprise,” the veteran cornerback admitted Tuesday, “but they liked me enough to trade for me… They’ve got a lot of great players on this team. I’m excited to get here and prepare for the Kansas City Chiefs.”
Wide receiver Phillip Dorsett is another player who can relate to what Bademosi is going through. At this time last week, he was an Indianapolis Colt, but his reaction to being dealt to New England was entirely different than Bademosi’s.
“I wasn’t really that surprised,” Dorsett insisted in his first comments to New England media, “but at the end of the day, I’m here now. I can’t wait [for Game 1 on Thursday]. I’ve got a good opportunity here. I’m just learning, soaking up all the information.
“I’ve been here three days and I’m just trying to get acclimated. I love it already. The guys on the team are great and really helpful. It’s going to be a definite transition with the playbook, learning everything, but I think I’m the person for it.”
Defensive end Cassius Marsh expressed similar confidence in his ability to acclimate quickly to his new surroundings.
“I’m a fast learner. I’ll figure it out. I’ll do what I can to get on the field and help my teammates,” he predicted. “I played a lot of different positions in my time in the NFL. Wherever they want me to play, I’ll play. I’m a football player. If they put me on the field, I’ll try to make plays.”
Marsh entered the NFL with Seattle in 2014, but had a pre-draft visit with the Patriots. “I’m pretty brand-new here. But new people means new learning and I’m excited. Every team is different, but it’s a great place, great organization. The Patriots win. I’m blessed to be here.”
Bademosi received reported interest from the Patriots a year ago when he was a free agent, but ultimately chose the Lions. Now that he’s finally in New England, he senses the urgency to assimilate as soon as possible to his unfamiliar new home.
“It’s my job to be prepared to play,” he continued. “I’d say the biggest challenge right now is preparing for the Kansas City Chiefs… Got a game to prepare for and it’s two days away.”
“Life is all about challenges,” Marsh philosophized. “Sometimes they’re harder than others. This one was tough, but I’m adjusting. I’ll make it happen… I’m excited to get out there and play with my new teammates, make plays, and show them that I’m here to help the team win.”
One more day
Stephon Gilmore and Mike Gillislee have been here a bit longer than the other three players already mentioned, but this pair of former Buffalo Bills teammates will share the experience of suiting up for a regular season game with the Patriots for the first time this Thursday night.
“It’s going to be a little different, but I’ve got great teammates and I’m just ready to get out there and play,” said Gilmore. “It’s going to be fun. I love this game. I’ve been playing since I was 6 years old. Anytime you get an opportunity to play in the NFL you want to go out and play fast, have fun, and do whatever you can to help the team win.
I can’t wait to go out there and fly around and have fun.”
Gillislee tried to downplay his emotions heading into the opener, but conceded he’s anxious to get 2017 underway in earnest.
“That’s something I try not to think about. I don’t want to get too hyped up or think about it too much, but I’m pretty sure it’s going to be a great feeling and a great experience to play my first home game on the Patriots’ field.
“[The Chiefs] got a lot of aggressive football players over there, but we’ve got good offensive players,” he added. “We just look forward to playing those guys on Thursday.”
It’s Tuesday to most of us, but for the Patriots and Chiefs, it’s like Friday. Today, Bill Belichick’s team treated practice like they often do just two days before a home game. Instead of practicing on their grass fields behind Gillette, they took the session onto the stadium’s new, freshly painted game surface.
The only player not taking part was defensive tackle Vincent Valentine (left knee), who has missed the past several days of on-field work. His status for Thursday is now in serious jeopardy.
Meanwhile, offensive tackle Cameron Fleming (ankle) managed to practice on a limited basis today after sitting out Monday.
The Patriots appear to have made a practice squad alteration, removing linebacker Trevor Bates (who wasn’t on the field Tuesday) and replacing him with guard Willie Beavers, who was sporting a number 66 jersey at today’s session.
New England will conduct a walkthrough practice on Wednesday which will be closed to the media. However, a final injury report, including game status declarations, will be unveiled shortly thereafter.