PHOENIX – It's been quite a year for Brian Tyms.
The Patriots wide receiver was simply clawing his way into the league this time a year ago, and he entered training camp without a team a facing a four-game suspension for violating the league's policy on performance-enhancing drugs.
Fast-forward about five months and here Tyms is at the Super Bowl with the rest of his teammates.
"It's been pretty surreal," Tyms admitted with a smile during Wednesday's media availability at the team hotel. "I always knew I could play at this level and was just hoping to get a chance to stick around. I never thought I'd be sitting here at this point, though."
Tyms made a minimal contribution after serving that four-game suspension to open the season. After sitting out an additional game, he made his presence felt with a terrific 43-yard touchdown catch during New England's Week 6 win in Buffalo. The deep ball opened the eyes of Patriots fans, who've been clamoring for him ever since.
"I always feel like I can compete with anybody down the field," Tyms said after having a laugh when informed how often fans wish for the team to open the game with a bomb in his direction.
"I feel I've shown that. But we have so many great guys on this team that we can do really anything to win a game. We can throw it down the field, we can run the ball … when it's my time I'll be ready. I just have to be patient and watch and learn."
Tyms made just four more catches the rest of year – all coming in the finale against Buffalo when many of the regulars sat out or played sparingly – but he insists if he's called upon he'll be ready to go.
"I'm just ready to play. All this, all the media, it's just building up to the moment," Tyms added. "I'm just ready to get out and play. I'm tired of the waiting."
At least it's better than waiting for a chance to break into the league.