DEFENSIVE LINEMAN ADRIAN CLAYBORN
Q: When did you first hear from the Patriots and what was the recruiting process like for you?
AC: My agent was dealing with them throughout free agency, but I mean, I got the call Thursday. I guess, yeah, it was Thursday and they asked me to come in for a visit. So, I hopped on a plane and met with all the coaches and stuff Friday and it was a good visit, so I decided to sign.
Q: Did things progress quickly during that visit?
AC: No, I mean, it was a long day just meeting everybody and watching film with the coaches and getting to know the program. It was a long day, but it worked out.
Q: How has having Erb's Palsy impacted you as a player? What sort of effect does it have on where you line up as a defensive lineman?
AC: I mean, I play the right side. That's where I've been playing for most of my career. I mean, it doesn't really affect me besides in the weight room with doing some stuff, but on the field, I mean, it doesn't really affect me. I've learned to compensate when I have to and I do what I've got to do to make the plays.
Q: Is it strange to be a member of the Patriots after being a member of the Falcons in Super Bowl LI?
AC: I mean, not really. I didn't play in that game, so it's not really a big thing to me. So, I'm just excited about a new opportunity and to get to continue my career.
Q: Did you know James Ferentz and Matt Tobin well when you played together at Iowa?
AC: Yep, I knew them. They were scout team players when I was at Iowa. That's how old I am, but yep, I know those guys.
Q: What have the adversities you've faced early in life taught you about mental toughness and perseverance?
AC: Life happens. I mean, through the Erb's Palsy or whatever of losing my dad and my brother, I don't know - it just made me the person I am today. Just got to take the blows when they come and throw a couple back at times. So, just learn how to fight and scrap and learn how to keep going.
Q: Why do you think the Patriots are a good fit for you at this point in your career?
AC: I mean, just talking to the coaches, they explained what could be my role. I mean, it kind of brings me back to my Iowa days where you've got to work for what you get, and I'm all for that. I'm just looking to try to help the team out in any way I can.
Q: What role do you think you have the best chance of filling here?
AC: I mean, without getting into the details, just pretty much whatever I prove I can do. I mean, I know I can rush the passer and I know I can set the edge in the run, so I mean, there's a couple different positions that they believe I can play. So, it's up to me to prove I can play them.
Q: In your piece in the Player's Tribune from earlier this year, you wrote about the difficulty of rehabbing from your last injury and how you thought about quitting. What ultimately led you to want to play again, and how much longer do you want to keep playing?
AC: Honestly, just praying about it with my wife and my family and talking to my agent. Yeah, just coming to a decision that I wanted to play, and I'm glad that I made that decision to come back. Getting over that hump was a big one, dealing with my fourth injury, but I'm trying to play as long as I can - as long as this body lets me.
Q: What would you attribute to your career performance last year?
AC: Just gaining more knowledge, being in the league, studying film and getting a better idea for what tackles like to do and how they like to block me. I learned a lot from Dan Quinn as far as D-line play, so that helped a lot. I'm just looking to build off that and be able to help the Patriots.
Q: How would you describe your play style for those that don't know you?
AC: Aggressive, hard-nosed - I like to play every play like it's my last.
Q: What was it like to play in college under Kirk Ferentz? Did he ever tell you anything about Bill Belichick or what it would be like to play for Belichick?
AC: Playing under Ferentz? I mean, it prepared me, it prepares a lot of guys for the league and what that all entails, from him having coached under Belichick. I haven't had that conversation with him yet about playing under him, but I'm sure it will happen sooner or later.
Q: Do you still keep in pretty close contact with Ferentz?
AC: Yeah, we talk every so often. I was back there in the fall for a game and got to talk to him, and he calls me about every season, so yeah.
Q: Do you consider yourself at this point a three-down player, or are you more focused on the sub-situation kind of roles that you've taken on?
AC: I believe that's what people have pigeon-holed me in as a third-down player, but I know I can play first, second, third down if need be. That was my role in Atlanta because that's what they asked me to do, but I mean, I can play all three downs if you ask me.
Q: How hard was it watching and not playing in Super Bowl LI? Do you think you could have made a difference in the game?
AC: I mean, it was tough to watch being hurt. The Super Bowl was two weeks after I tore my bicep, so it was hard to watch. It was a hard week. I don't know if I could have made an impact. I would hope so. I mean, that's my job to do every game, so I would hope I would have been able to make an impact in that game and possibly a different outcome.