GLENDALE, Ariz. – There isn't much time for football with all the glitz and glamour of media day but amidst the celebrities and entertainment talk there was a little time given to serious issues. One was the status of pending free agent cornerback Asante Samuel.
The All-Pro corner was one of 11 Patriots stationed on a platform on the field. The topic of his future was broached on a couple of occasions but he refused to bite.
"I'm here to talk about the Giants and Sunday's game only," Samuel said. "Anything else doesn't matter at this point."
It's understandable that Samuel didn't want to discuss his contract or long-term plans. But a few of his teammates – and even his defensive coordinator – talked about him and his development.
"I think he's developed very well. I was here four years ago and he was kind of a backup at that time behind [Tyrone] Poole and [Ty]Law," Dean Pees said. "He played a little bit in sub defense and last year he had a tremendous year. I think there were a lot of people that wondered if that was going to be a one-year deal but for us as coaches we saw a great deal of development in him.
"I think he's really become a student of the game. They learn how to study film and prepare. As guys get older they don't just use their ability, they use their ability and their heads to play as defensive backs and I think he's really gotten to that point."
Safety Rodney Harrison echoed Pees' assessment, calling Samuel the best cornerback in football at one point. Perhaps as a message for his soon-to-be free agent secondary mate, the veteran safety said he tries to impress upon everyone the importance of enjoying the Super Bowl experience.
"That's why I tell Asante and Randall Gay (also a pending free agent) and those guys you better really appreciate what you have now because you never know what you're going to be dealing with in the future," Harrison said. "What you guys are a part of right now is so special and you have to cherish it because there are no guarantees."
What's in a name?
One would think that after making five trips to the Super Bowl that Tedy Bruschi's name would be entrenched in the NFL's mind. But the veteran linebacker found that wasn't the case when he arrived at his platform for media day. Sitting behind the microphone Bruschi smiled when informed that his nameplate above had his name misspelled. The plate said "Brushci" instead of Bruschi.
Something in the water
As a nose tackle Vince Wilfork has never had to endure the wrath of offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia but that hasn't prevented him from taking notice. Scarnecchia is legendary for his verbal assaults on his troops and Wilfork believes it's part of what draws the unit together.
"Every level of football I've ever played there has always been a bond between the offensive line and the coach," Wilfork said. "I've seen Dante just tear into their butts but at the same time there's a lot of love there. I think that's where the unity comes from. When you think about the tightest groups on any team, you have to look at the offensive line.
"I don't know why they cussed out so much, but it's been that way at every level I've ever played."
Wilfork also had praise for the group, and the offense in general. "I rank them at the top, top, top. The way they can run block, pass block and basically transform themselves into whatever kind of unit they need to be. As a defensive player I would never want to play against our offense because of all the different things they can do."
Junior Seau and Michael Strahan have a combined 33 years of NFL experience and nary a Super Bowl ring between them. The two have enjoyed a strong friendship off the field and worked out together at times during the offseason.
"Michael and I…I have a lot of love for Michael," Seau said. "He's on the same fence with me in terms of trying to grab one. It's been a long, long journey for both of us. As far as that goes, he understands that the best team will win. Who will that be? We don't know. I want him to win one too but when I'm retired and surfing, not now."
Seau is known for his many hats, but when asked about them his answer was still somewhat staggering. "I probably have like 350 hats. I'm pretty sick with hats." … Mike Vrabel was asked if Bill Belichick had plans to turn in his trademark hoodie for Sunday's game. He shook his head no before the question was complete. "That's his little woobie. That's his security blanket. He has got that pouch and he keeps all of his stuff in it. You would like to see what is inside that pouch I bet." Vrabel was also asked about his time in Pittsburgh. During his four seasons with the Steelers (1997-2000), Vrabel was a backup who didn't see much playing time. "I don't think that I did enough there to warrant Bill Cowher giving me any more playing time than he was giving me," Vrabel said. "The last year, I think that I played one series in each half. If it was three plays, then that was the series, or if it was two plays, that was the series, and I appreciate that opportunity and I think it was time to move on." … One lucky fireman from Foxborough stopped by The Christmas Tree Shops at Patriot Place on Tuesday to pick up two Super Bowl tickets courtesy of a raffle sponsored by Patriot Place. Patriot Place General Manager Brian Earley presented Paul Farmer, a life-long Foxborough resident, with the tickets after Farmer's entry was drawn from more than 5,000 submitted at Patriot Place retailers over the weekend. Farmer will be in Glendale, Ariz., Sunday to see the Patriots take on the New York Giants in Super Bowl XLII. … Patriots media availability will move back to the team hotel on Wednesday with Belichick's press conference scheduled for 8 a.m. (MT) with players to follow.