WR MARQISE LEE
May 13, 2020
Q: How difficult have the last few years been for you? How much are you looking forward to getting back and playing football?
ML: It's been quite difficult with the knee injury and coming back with the shoulder injury. It's been difficult, but it's been a task in which I've quite enjoyed as far as knowing myself. After these certain injuries, you've got some people who get down on themselves and tend to want to shut it down. For me, it's kind of like a motivating factor. I just want to see where I'm at at this point. It will be good to get out there and play football, which I feel like I haven't played in the last couple years. I'm just ready to get at it.
Q: Why did you think New England was the best fit for you? Did Tom Brady's free agency situation factor into your decision?
ML: Not at all, in all honestly. For me, my biggest thing was I just knew the last couple years I didn't really have the opportunity to go out there and do the things I felt like I needed to do as a player. I felt like me choosing New England, just to go there as far as this season was in the sense of just trying to get back to myself. I felt like which place is the perfect place to get back and try to get back to yourself rather than New England – very strict, basically just all about football and handling your business. So, I feel like I was a little bit off on that point with these last two injuries I had, so I just wanted to get back right on track, get everything back on point, and I felt like New England is the right place for me.
Q: Some athletes say that they talk to trainers and doctors who give them a new regimen that can help them try to avoid injuries. How frustrating is it to be in this position to try to prove yourself, even though you're a veteran?
ML: It is what it is. We know what we sign up for as football goes. Yeah, it's a difficult thing to come back from as far as the injuries and things like that, but we knew what we signed up for when we decided to play the game. You can try to do as much as you can to prevent injuries. There's a lot out there than you can do. But in all honesty, it's football. Injuries come all type of ways – non-contact and contact. So, you've just got to be prepared to bounce back from it, in all honesty. As far as my situation goes, like I said, it is what it is. From some of our backgrounds and where some of us came from, this is not the hard part. Me having to battle and try to get a spot is not a hard position for me. This is something I've been doing all my life, so it's just part of something I've been doing. As far as the goals, just go out there and make sure I stay healthy and just try to compete.
Q: How challenging is it to acclimate to a new team when you aren't able to see your teammates? Have you had a chance to speak to either Jarrett Stidham or Brian Hoyer?
ML: In all honesty, I haven't had the opportunity to really speak to them much. In all honesty, I'm very young, but I am not tech savvy. I had a hard time getting the meetings set and the Zoom things. So, it's very new to everybody. Some are getting acclimated a little bit better than most, but we're all getting used to it. It's kind of difficult trying to operate in a new team and learn the new system and things like that by doing it all on your own at the house. I'm the type of person who likes to get to the facility and be around the coaches, so it's kind of hard. So, we're just trying to utilize our time as much as we can. Even without the coaches, we try to hop on Zoom and the web thing just to try to communicate with each other, just to make sure everybody's fine, their families are fine, just make sure the ones who are newly acclimated to the team are up to par as far as the football aspect and the basic information that we need to know as far as being on the team. So, it's difficult, but everybody's going through it. When you sit down to really think about it and realize everybody's going through it, then it's kind of easy on your side.
Q: What was attractive to you about playing in New England? What have you heard about playing for Bill Belichick?
ML: I haven't really heard much, in all honesty. I just know that he's a great coach. I'm not the type of person that really goes out and really tries to ask questions, things like that. I sit back and really just evaluate where I feel like I need to be and what is important for me and where I need to be in order to come back from. I had an opportunity to talk to Coach [Belichick] previous years and things like that. I just knew what type of time that he's on, and me talking to previous players, the type of organization they are. I feel like for me, what I'm trying to get back on track to, I feel like it's just the right place for me to go.
Q: When have you talked to him in previous years?
ML: I actually had the opportunity when I first came out of the draft. I remember I had the opportunity to sit down and talk to him. We didn't talk about much, just typical draft stuff and things like that. But I just knew the type of mentality he had and having an opportunity to be in the league for the last six years playing against him and just seeing the type of mentality that his team had and things like that – I just knew what type of mentality he has as a coach and what he demands from his players and how much I'm willing to just get into that and really get back to that football aspect.
Q: When you are healthy, what kind of things can you bring to this offense? How confident are you that you can be a big part of this offense going forward?
ML: Just to be reliable in all aspects. I'm the type of person, just try to get everything in which the team needs me to do. I'm never going to be specific like, 'I just want to play this, that and the other.' No, whatever they need me to do at the end of the day is what I'm willing to do, regardless of what it is. That's my main focus. I haven't had a lot of opportunity to really stay healthy in the league, so my main focus right now is really just staying healthy. And as I stay healthy, just try to do as much as I can just to help the team in whatever aspect they need me to help at. I'm just here – if they need a body, I'm here – a healthy body, an opportunity to rock out and try to do as much as I can.
Q: I know you spent one year with Jedd Fisch in Jacksonville. Has that been helpful to have him in New England?
ML: Coach Jedd was a great, great coach down in Jacksonville for me as far as when I first got there, just teaching me the things I need to be as far as a player. Even when he left, he stayed in communication, just making sure I stayed on top of things for the first couple years. It's kind of motivating for me or a little helpful for me to actually know that he was on the team. It gave me a little relief not going to a team and not knowing everybody. At least I had the opportunity know somebody. I haven't really gotten the chance to really communicate because of the coronavirus or things like that, but I've been hopping on Zoom with him a couple times throughout the group, spoke to him, things like that and he just gave me some tips as far as helping me as I'm going through it.
Q: Have you been able to be in touch with some of the receivers or other players as you've acclimated to a new team?
ML: I've been great, in all honesty. I feel like throughout all the receivers, from Julian [Edelman] to Mo [Mohamed Sanu] to Damiere [Byrd] to everybody, N'Keal [Harry], have an opportunity to really get to know guys and have an opportunity to talk to them. It just seems like everybody is down to earth and ready to work. Everybody knows coming into the year everybody's competing for a spot like that, but coming in, me getting an opportunity to be with this receiver corps, nobody's really focused on that. Everybody is just focused on working and getting right. Honestly, everybody's really focused on getting an opportunity to get back to the facility. We're all enjoying our families, but we're kind of missing out being over there and actually getting the work done with each other. So, we're just trying to get as close as we can and just typical stuff we just talk about – we sit around for 10 minutes and just socialize about our families and make sure everybody's good.
Q: What are your memories of the 2017 AFC Championship that you played with Jacksonville against New England and how those may get some revisionist history now that you've signed with the Patriots?
ML: Yeah, that game was crazy. I ain't going to lie to you, I enjoyed it. Of course, New England came out on top. But it just showed the resiliency of New England in my eyes. We've seen them in a lot of opportunities just as far as games where they've been down and they just fought and came back. I can honestly say one vivid memory on that sideline with Jacksonville, I remember thinking, 'Alright, we've just got to finish this out and we'll be fine.' Even knowing what they had over there, you could just see it in their eyes they're not giving up. They'll continue to fight and continue to rock out. That's what I'm looking forward to. I don't feel like none of that left from that team, regardless of who's here or not. I feel like everybody on this team is willing to fight and that's just their mentality. I'm the same way. I'm just coming in and trying to help.
Q: You mentioned Coach Fisch. Which coaches are you catching up with the most in terms of meetings and how are those going? What are your thoughts on the Jaguars and that chapter that you leave behind?
ML: As far as the coaches standpoint, I get the opportunity to talk to Coach Fisch here and there. But for the most part, I talk to the receiver coach, Coach Mick [Lombardi], for the most part and just try to stay on top of my things with him. But if I do have other questions, if he's busy or things like that, we do have the opportunity to reach out to other coaches. So, that's why Coach Fisch's line is always available to hit up and communicate as far as if I have any questions. As far as my time in Jacksonville, I enjoyed it. It was my first opportunity to come in the league. We got the opportunity to rock out and just see how things go, the ups and the downs, the ins and the outs, and I can't complain, in all honesty. It was just a team in which we've been trying to figure out – still trying to figure out – things that they're just trying to figure out over there. But for the most part, I can't complain. I enjoyed my time over there. I gave them my all. But I'm looking forward to a new chapter in life and trying to build from here, in all honesty, and give New England my best that I've got going.
Q: Is there anything we missed today that's important for you to mention?
ML: No, I just can't wait to get out there and actually meet you guys. I know everybody's ready to get back to it. But other than that, no, I can't wait to get back and get out there to New England and get an opportunity to see you guys face to face and talk to you face to face, in all honesty.