Outside linebacker Rosevelt Colvin joined the Patriots as a free agent prior to the 2003 season following two consecutive seasons recording double-digit sacks for the Chicago Bears.
After sustaining a career-threatening hip injury in his second game as a Patriot, Colvin worked his way back to his previous form, becoming one of the Patriots' key playmakers on defense and leading the team in sacks in 2005. Colvin also became a successful businessman, opening two UPS franchises.
The affable, high-energy linebacker is primed for a big year in 2006, and he sat down with New England Patriots Gameday to discuss being a leader, his play on the field and running a business from the locker room.
You've become one of the veteran leaders in the locker room. How does that happen? Is it your play on the field, tenure in the league or does it just happen organically?
For me, I just try to lead by example. You get a lot of guys that are talkers. They say, 'This is what you need to do.' For me, I just like to go out and play well and that, for me, shows the guy next to me or the guy behind me that Rosey is here to play. I try to make sure I'm taking care of my business and being the best linebacker I can be. I think that speaks for itself.
Do you seek younger players out, or do you just let your example be the lesson?
It depends on the situation. If I think if I've made the same mistake somebody else is making, and it's something I've corrected and gotten better at, then I might say something. But I'm not going to seek people out and try to give them advice. Leading by example is how I roll.
Another aspect of being a leader is being a spokesperson in the locker room. After a tough loss, you're there to face the questions. Is that difficult?
Not really. I've learned to deal with situations as they are. You can only control yourself. You can only control what you put in it. If I played well or played poorly, that's me. I'm willing to answer questions about that.
When you were with the Bears, you once had a sack in eight consecutive games. As a defensive player, how do you get on a roll even though your opponents change every week?
The first thing is consistency. Going out there, preparing and making sure you're covering all your bases is very important. And then a little bit of it is getting in a groove - figuring out what you're doing well and trying to capitalize on that, as well as changing it up a little bit so the other team can't key in on it. When you get in one of those zones, that's what you're looking for. I'm trying to get there right now.
Do you feel like it's a possibility?
Yeah. I definitely think it's a possibility. I just have to continue to prepare hard and trust that the coaching staff will put me in a position where I can make plays. It's a little bit different here than it was in Chicago, because I have more responsibilities. Here, I may not have a chance to get a sack every down or even every series. My chance might not come until the end of the game, but when it does I'm expected to make the play. It might be the only chance I get all game, but I'm expected to make it. So some of it is creating opportunities for yourself, but you also have to play within the scheme of the defense.
As an outside linebacker, which is most important: speed, strength or technique?
I think you have to have a little bit of all of them. If you excel in a certain area, you can use that to your advantage. Like some guys who are fast, they might not read plays very well. Some guys who are slow read plays better. I feel like I'm a quick guy, not a fast guy. I try to be explosive. When I'm lining up to rush or cover, I try to process a lot of information in a short period of time - the tackle's stance, the tight end's stance, the cadence of the quarterback, what the defensive call is - and that gives me, in my mind, what I need to do on that specific play, and then I react quickly to what they do at the snap.
Do you keep a book on opposing tackles and tight ends and approach each in different ways? Or is their job to react to what you do, allowing you to just do your thing?
In order to be a good player you should study your opponent and know what they do well and what they don't do well. For me, film study started back in college and we used to have to do breakdown reports. I was in the Big Ten playing defensive end at 220 pounds and I was going up against guys like Orlando Pace who is 330 pounds. If you're a smaller guy, you know that you're going to be quicker and faster than the bigger guy, so you have to try to take advantage of that. You don't want to run into the guy; you want to stay away from him as much as possible. As you study a player, the most important thing is to find out what his strengths are. Once you see what his strengths and weaknesses are, see how you can use your strengths to take advantage of his weaknesses.
Does the home crowd ever get louder than after a sack on third down at a crucial moment in the game?
I think those are the points where the crowd gets really excited, because it's clear a play has been made, especially if you get them involved before the play starts. If you get them cheering before the play starts and then you get off the ball, come off the edge and make a play, that makes them even that much more fired up. And it's very important that the fans know how important they are to us. If you can get 70,000 people screaming out of their minds, it makes it very difficult for the opposing offense - the tackle, the running back, the guard, the quarterback - to communicate and to function. It's definitely a benefit for pass rushers.
The NFL is considering microphones in the quarterbacks' helmets to help the offensive line hear the snap count.
I would hate that if they did that. That wouldn't help me at all.
This may be a stupid question, but when you have a free shot at the quarterback from the blind side, does it ever cross your mind to let off a bit?
No. What goes through my mind is that vision that I've thought about all week long and the night before the game - the opportunity to make a play. What goes through my mind is, 'OK. This is getting ready to happen.' The next thing is to make sure the quarterback can't escape, spin out from you. The next thing is the location of the ball. If you can find the ball, you have the opportunity for a strip sack. You don't get free shots like that often, so you have to make the ones you get count.
You own two UPS stores in Indianapolis. How do you keep an eye on the business from this far away and with all of your other responsibilities?
I've always said that anybody that has decent time management skills can get it done. I think the number one thing is you have to have somebody there that you can trust. For me, that's my mother. She's the person who's there on a daily basis to keep things tidy. As far as the bookkeeping, the financials, the bank statements and all that stuff, I pretty much do that myself. With the Internet, you can keep track of mostly anything. I can go on the Web right now and see what the stores have done up to the minute today, see what they did two months ago or see what the projections should be. It's not hard, especially with the way the store works. But I try to get my job as a football player done first. The UPS thing is something that I started on the side because of the injury I suffered in 2003. It gave me the opportunity to see what life after football may be like, and with the help of my mother, my father and my wife, I'm able to keep everything straight. But like I said, if you have basic time management skills, you should be OK.
What do you do when you see one of your teammates sending something with a competitor?
I've sort of gotten to the point where I've recruited most of the guys to use UPS. But it's a personal preference. If they don't use UPS I'm not going to stop being their friend or anything. But I try to give them a great deal or price match. Whatever they need, I do for them.
You're not the only entrepreneur in the family. Your mother-in-law owns a specialty cake business. How much cake do you allow yourself to eat during the season?
The funny thing about it is, when my wife or mother-in-law cooks sweets I'll eat a piece of it, not the whole thing. I'm not a huge dessert person. I don't go overboard and eat four or five pieces of cake per day or anything like that. But the cakes are the best cake I've ever tasted. When my mother- in-law comes to town, the cakes are a hot commodity. The guys in the locker room love it. She usually makes about 60 cakes. It's a big deal. It started in Chicago, where she would drive up and make the cakes. I kind of brought that here with me.
You were severely injured in 2003. When you were lying in that hospital bed, did you ever dream that you'd make it back to the point where you would be on the cover of the Gameday?
It was never really a thought of mine. For me, it was a struggle to just go day-today. That was what I was worried about. People were saying that they were praying for me to come back or to have my best year, and I'm saying to myself, 'Just pray for me to make it through today, because the way I'm feeling it doesn't look good.' So I tried to focus on the task at hand. 'OK, today we're going to try to learn how to walk better.' Some days were better than others; some weeks were better than others. As I look back, I've made continuous progress. And it was a grind, because sometimes I was like, 'Man, I don't know how much more I can take of this.' They say you can recover, but it just didn't feel like that. But with a lot of prayer and with the help of other people, like my wife Tiffany and like Joe Van Allen and Jim Whalen on the training staff, I'm here today. It's just crazy how my career has evolved. I just try to take it one day at a time. You're not promised tomorrow, so I just focus on what is going on right now.