RUNNING BACK JEREMY HILL
Q: What are your expectations coming into this backfield and this organization?
JH: Yeah, as cliché' as it sounds, just take it day-by-day. I think for me, just learning the offense at this point, doing everything I can to make sure I'm up to date on everything and I can go out there and play fast and staying in shape with the strength and conditioning staff, and make sure my body is ready to go as I try to peak towards training camp. That's really all I'm doing right now.
Q: Were you surprised to get the call from the Patriots?
JH: Yeah, I actually was. Before free agency started and kind of after a few days of free agency, their name never got mentioned once and then I got a call saying they wanted me on a visit and I jumped on a plane as quick as I could. I'm excited about the opportunity that they have here for me.
Q: How has it been to be reunited here with your former teammate Rex Burkhead?
JH: It's great; it's great. He's a great mentor for me, being here for a year and getting an understanding of the offense and the culture and just how things go. He's been great for me, and I can lean on him whenever I need an answer or help with anything. He's also a great player, so it's good.
Q: Does seeing his success transitioning to this program give you a bit of confidence?
JH: Yeah, I think my confidence comes from within, but also seeing Rex be successful was great. My confidence comes from myself and what I can do out there. That's really all it stems from.
Q: How much did your ankle surgery help you and is that something that's been bothering you for quite some time?
JH: Yeah, it was something I was dealing with for about two years, and just something I felt like going into free agency and going into when the season was over, something that I needed to get done, something that I'm glad I got done then rather than when free agency started. But for me, I've been moving around really great and it's progressing along perfectly. I'm excited for the opportunity ahead.
Q: In what ways did it limit you for those two years?
JH: I just wasn't myself. I really didn't have the flexibility and the strength in it that I needed to be the back that I wanted to be, so I'm glad that I got it done and I can get it back to 100 percent and be the back that I know I can be.
Q: What ultimately led to the decision for you to sign here in New England?
JH: Just the competition and, obviously, just what the coaches told me - that I was going to have to earn everything that I got here – and that's what I wanted to hear because I feel like a lot of places can say this and say that, but in reality no one really knows. I'm glad that they were upfront and real about that, and that's something that I respected about Coach [Bill] Belichick and Coach [Josh] McDaniels and that's what kind of drew me to come here.
Q: What's the key to staying unselfish as a running back group?
JH: Longevity. I think you can go in there and get 400 carries year-in and year-out, but playing in this league, not many guys can do that. So, when you go somewhere with a lot of competition in the backfield, obviously, you want to be out there playing, but in the big scheme of things your health is all you have at the end of the day because you only have one body. I think for us, I don't know what they're going to do, but from the past they've rotated, so I'm pretty sure that's probably something they'll do again.
Q: What do you think about the competition level of this running back group? I know you haven't practiced yet, but I'm sure you've watched some of these guys before.
JH: Yeah, for sure. It's great. It's high. Obviously, those guys have played in Super Bowls and played at high levels and played big in playoff games, so the competition is definitely there, but I have all the faith in myself to go out there and compete at a high level, as well. It'll only bring the best out of all of us. I think that's how we want to approach every day, just playing at a high level, all of us and only good things can come from that.
Q: Having played against the Patriots in the past, what were your impressions of them from across the other side of the field?
JH: Probably the most well-prepared team I've ever played [against], just defensively, offensively, low turnovers, low penalties and it's just really tough to beat teams like that. It's going to be good to be on the other side of that. We got to be blessed with the 'On to Cincinnati' game and that didn't end well for us, so it'll be good to be on the other side of that. We've got to take it day-by-day and keep building up to that point.
Q: What were some of your frustrations last year given your injury situation, and what are some things that you're looking forward to and that excite you about this upcoming season?
JH: I think for me, the frustration was definitely there, but I think for me it's just enjoying the moment that I have now because, obviously, I didn't have that last year, just watching those guys go out there every Sunday and playing and not being able to go out there. That kind of wore on me a little bit, but also just being able to get back healthy and be able to do that again. I think I'm really cherishing each moment and each day of being healthy and being able to go out there and compete. I'm excited for the opportunity for myself and we're just going to keep building up to that moment.
Q: Do you feel like you have something to prove all over again?
JH: I think every player has that. You've got to recreate yourself and reprove yourself every year, so for me that's something that I definitely want to do. It's definitely a great opportunity to do that here with the offense we have and the competition that we have in our room.
Q: What do you remember from that 'On to Cincinnati' game from Week 5 of the 2014 season?
JH: It started bad and it ended even worse. It was not good. Those guys came out fired up, locked in, very well prepared and ready to go. Like I said, it's going to be good to be on the other side.
Q: Have you had the chance to talk to another LSU Tiger, Danny Etling, who the Patriots just drafted this past weekend?
JH: No, I haven't talked much with him, but I'm sure he'll be here soon enough. I'm excited for him. Obviously, he gets to learn from one of the best. He's a guy that I've known for a few years now. He's going to come in and work hard and take it day-by-day. I'm excited for him. It's a good place for him.
Q: Did you have any relationship with former Patriot Stevan Ridley?
JH: Yeah, a great relationship. I've actually known Stevan since I was probably 16, whenever he was at LSU and I was a recruit and he kind of hosted me a few times. We've just been friends throughout the years. Obviously, I've talked to him about his experiences here and it's been nothing but good things. Obviously, he's shown me the ropes and I'm excited for him in Pittsburgh. But yeah, Stevan's a good friend of mine.
Q: Have you met Kevin Faulk before?
JH: Yes, I've known Kevin for a while, as well. He comes back to LSU all the time. I haven't talked to him since I've been on the Pats, but I'm sure I will soon enough. But yeah, he's a great mentor for me. He's one of the greatest players to ever come around here, especially at running back. It'll be exciting when I get the chance to talk to him and catch up with him.
Q: You signed pretty quickly in free agency. Was this the first offer that you had?
JH: No, I had a few others, but this was the first visit that I had and being able to actually meet coaches and talk to coaches, that kind of convinced me to come here.
Q: What were the other opportunities that you had?
JH: I'd rather let my agent tell you those. I really don't know off the top of my head.
Transcripts are provided by the Patriots media relations department as a courtesy to the media and are edited for readability. All press conferences are posted and archived in their entirety at patriots.com.