Q: Not bad for an eighth-round draft choice out of Marshall. Tell us how you feel about reaching the 1,000-yard mark and everything else.
TB: I mean, to tell you the truth, I'm not even excited about that. I'm more excited about our team doing whatever. We're 8-5 and that's the biggest issue that I'm dealing with right now is trying to keep the emotions going about being 8-5 and not let it get in the way of us playing next week. I'm just looking forward to finishing the season out strong and whatever happens, happens. Individual statistics, they all come back to your teammates anyway, so that's the bottom line about it. So I give all the credit to those guys. Without them, you couldn't have a football team.
Q: Can you talk about the punt return?
TB: It was just, like I said, my teammates. They gave me great blocking up front, they gave me a long ball to return and guys got going up the left side, I saw Lawyer [Milloy] coming to kick out the last guy that I saw, so he got a good block on him and the next person I saw was Richard Seymour just creaming the kicker, and it was free sailing from there.
Q: Talk about playing your roles and also playing special teams.
TB: It definitely has a quality that you can add to your work. When you can go out there and make blocks like that on special teams and you can return and you can protect and cover kicks, it adds more to your value. I think a lot of guys on our team should do more of that. We have a lot of guys doing it. Seymour's contributing, and that's what you've got to have to have successful teams.
Q: When you were cut as a young player, did you ever envision doing the things that you're doing now?
TB: Yeah, I could envision it. I thought I was a pretty good college player, I just didn't bring it over to the pros right away. It took a while for me to get going and it took a while for me to get an opportunity to get out there and play. I don't regret anything that happened to me in the past. I'm just looking forward to each Sunday. And I'm looking forward to getting better and better every week.
Q: How do you get better?
TB: Just hard work. Just working on the things in the offseason that you need to work on, looking at my weak spots and self-scouting myself. I'm probably my worst critic. Everybody's saying that I had a great game today, but I thought it was just good. I'm my worst critic and I saw a lot of things that I thought I could have done better today. I think that's what keeps me going.
Q: From back in 1996 in the Super Bowl year, when Bill [Belichick] was here, he says you've become a different player. How much of a different player have you become?
TB: I think I grew up a lot in the game and in his system. It helped me out tremendously. It made me a more disciplined player and I think that helped me out a lot. When you play in this offense, you've got to be disciplined and you've got to hustle and it's not just pass catching, it's also blocking. You've got to be in the right place at the right time. I think that I've brought a lot of that stuff along with me, five or six years later and it's helping me out tremendously. Just the work ethic, I mean, guys that aren't even here anymore, like Shawn Jefferson, his work ethic I think rubbed off on me a lot. I give that guy a lot of credit because he constantly talked to me and didn't let me get down on myself when things weren't going well. So just people like that, the people around you, that helps you out a lot.
Q: Bill Parcells talked you out if quitting …
TB: I wasn't going to quit, I just wanted a different scene. I wanted to be somewhere else where I thought I had a better chance of making a football team. He had just went through a process where he brought in some of his older guys, he brought in [Dave] Meggett, and that guy helped me out a lot, especially with the punt returning. Watching the way he played the game, being small and everything, how hard he ran, that actually helped me out a lot, too. But with those things going on, I just wanted out. I just wanted a better chance, to have a better chance to make a team somewhere. But he talked me out of it. He said, 'Nobody knows you, kid. Just come in to camp and hopefully you'll have a good camp and we'll get some film on you and see what happens.'
Q: You've talked about some of the players who have influenced you. Are you a player who's influencing some of the players here now?
TB: I would hope so. I'm constantly talking to them about things that are going on in football, what you need to do to stick around, that things might not be going your way right now, but there are things you've got to do to stick around until you get your opportunity to get to do what you want to do. So hopefully it's rubbing off on some of these guys. You've just got to constantly stay on them.
Q: In training camp, did you think this team could do all it's done?
TB: I knew it in training camp that we were going to be a good football team. It just didn't happen right away. It was a little disappointing to come out 0-2 or 1-3, 1-4, whatever we were, and we got things turned around pretty quick there and now we're back on top. We're 8-5 and we're in good position to win the AFC East. I just like to look forward, week to week. Like, 'Who have we got next week?' I don't like to look too far down the road, so right now, my focus is going to Buffalo.
Q: You're the only top receiver returning punts. Do you have any qualms about doing that?
TB: I have no problems at all. I love doing it and that's one of the reasons why I'm still here, because of my special teams play. You can't forget where you've come from, and whatever I can contribute, that's what I'm going to try to contribute. I'm out there trying to block field goals also, so returning punts, covering kickoffs, that's what I need to do to try to help this team win football games.
Q: Because of the difficulty Buffalo's had, do they bother you a little more than some other teams?
TB: Buffalo bothers me a lot, because they've lost some close games. They've played hard for all four quarters, and just didn't get the right bounces or whatever. They're like we were last year, just not getting the right bounces. They've played great. They have a great defensive team and they just haven't been lucky this year.
Q: How does it feel to control your own playoff destiny?
TB: We're definitely in the driver's seat in terms of being in the playoffs. But like I said, we just have to stay focused on the team that we have to play next week and not look too far ahead. Next week it's Buffalo and it's another tough team we've got to play on the road in Buffalo. Who knows what the weather's going to be like there. It could be like it was last year. We could be in another dogfight again, trying to make a 10-yard field goal. We know it's going to be a tough game up there.
Q: What would you rather be doing? Catching a pass or returning a punt?
TB: Both. I just want to get the ball.
Q: What was it like to get the ball on the first play from scrimmage?
TB: I felt like it was a vote of confidence from the offensive coordinator. He wanted to get the ball into my hands to make something happen. It didn't work, but you know he wanted to make a big play right off the bat and get them on their heels right away. It just didn't work.
Q: What was the key to attacking their defense?
TB: We were pretty much balanced. We knew we had to come in and run the ball and try to push it down a little bit and open up some passing lanes. And we knew that we need to get the individual routes and go over the top a few times even though they were set back a lot more than they were set back. We thought we were going to have to go over the top a little more than we did. But they played real loose and made it tough to get the ball up underneath and we just stayed patient. Tom [Brady] made a few bad throws, and that cost us a little bit, but we bounced back from them. We were able to get back to our game plan, just dumping the ball off and letting guys make plays.
Q: What is it about returning punts that you enjoy so much?
TB: I think it's just the rush, man. You've got 10 or 11 guys coming down the field just to cream you. It's pretty much like you feel like it's you against them. But like I said, today my guys did a great job up there in front of me. Maybe it's just the rush that makes it so exciting for me and being able to make some guys miss in the open field and kind of embarrass them a little bit. That's what's exciting to me.
Q: Do you think you're still underrated in the league, or do you even care?
TB: I don't really care. All I care about is this football team and I can football games and how can I help it.
Q: What does it mean to have Terry Glenn back?
TB: It means a lot to us as a football team. I just feel like Terry's at a place where he can relax when he's around us. He has a team full of friends and I think that's the thing I want to help him the most with is being comfortable. I don't think he's comfortable when he's away from us. I think he's more comfortable when he's around guys he can relate to and he can talk to every day and just be able to smile. That's the main thing, to get Terry Glenn back to the old Terry is having him smile a little more.