Not everyone loves their job. It's simply a fact of life. For most of us, doing what we need to do to be fulfilled, and taking responsibility for our lives is enough. For some, the paycheck is all that matters. As with most things, the grass is often greener someplace else.
Many people go to work wishing their job was better. Perhaps they long to be rich or famous. Or perhaps they regret not making different choices.
This social phenomenon doesn't just apply to those with seemingly menial jobs. Believe it or not, it can also apply to professional athletes.
Defensive lineman Ty Warren is not one of those athletes.
Warren loves his job, but not for any of the trite reasons that may spring to mind. He may be a 6-5, 300 pound guy, but that doesn't mean he won't wear his heart on his sleeve a little bit.
"Football has always been a part of my life," explained Warren Monday afternoon. "Just growing up I had my single parent, my mother, and then I had football. I always looked at my coaches on the football team as father figures, because they pretty much, as a male, taught me a lot of things I needed to know."
"[Playing football] is just something I love to do. People just respect guys that work. If you come in here and work, people respect that. I want to be one of those guys. I don't want to be that guy that lets the team down at any time. As long as I'm enjoying it, I'll keep playing. Hopefully that's a long time."
And there's little to indicate that his NFL career won't last for a long time. He entered the league in 2003 and became the first Patriots first-rounder to play all 16 regular season games as a rookie since 1999. From there, his tackling numbers have only risen. He's in the middle of another career-year and has 84 tackles this season, according to the coaches' records.
Warren had two sacks in Sunday's win over the Lions, bringing his sack total to 5.5 this season, another career-high.
"[Sacks are] special in this game, because they don't come often," said Warren with a grin. "You only get so many opportunities. We're asked to do a lot of things, but at the same time it's definitely good when we get the chance to get some. I enjoy it.
"I'm never satisfied. I just got done watching film and there are some things I would like to have back. I would like not to have jumped offsides that one time. As good of a game people on our side think I had, I'm sitting up at night thinking, "Dang. Why'd I jump offsides." And thinking about those three points that they converted at the end of that drive. I'm just trying to contribute any way I can to help the team be successful."
As for the success he's had this season, Warren's winning attitude shines on.
What's made him better?
"Hat's off to [defensive line coach] Pepper Johnson, being here in the offseason with him and coach Bill Belichick working out and listening to what he has to say," said Warren forgetting to credit his own hard work. "I just take my coaching with a grain of salt. It's not always negative, but it's all to better me. I listen to it and I just put the weight on my shoulders and I just keep trucking. I just keep my head down and keep working. That's me. That's all I'm going to do."
Belichick said Monday that Warren's attitude is a big part of what makes him great.
"Well I think that one of Ty's real strengths as a player is that when you give him something to work on he really works at it. And that doesn't mean at the expense of what he does well," Belichick said.
"He's done a good job of really trying to focus and work on the areas that you ask him to improve on. And again the thing I like about it is it's not at the expense of the other things he's doing well. There's no tradeoff. It's just steady improvement."
The Patriots didn't practice today, but came in to Gillette Stadium to watch Sunday's film of the Lions game. … Belichick said that both Laurence Maroney, who left the game early and didn't return, and Mike Vrabel, who was kneed in the back of the head after his second interception in the game, are "doing good."