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Willie McGinest Conference Call Transcript

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Q: Having been here virtually the entire time that Drew Bledsoe was, what is your reaction to first the legacy that he leaves in New England and then the fact that he is headed to a division rival?

WM: I just want to start off by saying that Drew is a great guy. He was one of the young, hot talents on this team when I first arrived along with some of the other guys that I grew kind of close to. He has done a lot for this organization, he spent nine years here so a lot of his blood, sweat and hard work is part of the Patriot tradition. He is a tremendous talent, he is a good guy, he is well spoken, he helps guys out all-around. I mean it is just things in life as players, as men, as businessmen, we can never be addicted or we can never be immune to life's trials and tribulations, certain things that go on. It was unfortunate that he had to get hurt and certain things happened, but that's the game. I think Drew's presence was felt here. He did his job, he set records and he won a lot of games for us and he played hard. He gave it all he had.

Q: Going forward how do you think Drew's absence will affect Tom Brady? Do you think it is better for Tom to have Drew out and really make it Tom's team?

WM: Once Tom took over, whoever is playing, whoever led this team it was pretty much that person in control right then. I don't think it is any one player's team. That is how we play the game here in New England and that is how we came out at the Super Bowl and that is how we did it all year. It is not one guy's team. We all share a certain role, a certain part in making up what we call a team and I think Drew along with [Damon] Huard and Brady were all together a part of that team whether it was helping, whether it was drawing up plays, whether it was on the field playing or helping the guy out who was younger, coaching him up, whatever the case may be, everybody contributed to that team.

Q: What is your fondest memory of Drew?

WM: Probably the Minnesota game when he threw, I don't know it's over 60 passes in that game and we were down like maybe 21 points and he came back at halftime and won that game for us.

Q: On the outside there is a perception that there would be a distraction on the team if Drew came back, is that true for the people who have to talk about the Bledsoe/Brady thing?

WM: Well I think that is more of a media thing. Just let me say this, of course anybody in this league is competitive, everybody wants to play, everybody wants to be on the field, everybody wants to make big plays, everybody wants to do good in this league so for a guy who is a first rounder, who is a first pick, who has been competitive in this league a long time who is a competitor who spent time virtually his whole career starting and being the man it is kind of hard to take when you are not on that field. That goes for anybody. I mean even when I had a small surgery and I came out and it took me awhile to get back just watching the game is hard so I mean Drew's absence, I mean a lot of guys we are going to miss him, but it is a business, things happen, we all have to move on in ours lives there are a lot of different situations. There are a lot of guys here that were here 13 or 14 years and missed the Super Bowl by one year. There are a lot of guys who had been here their whole career that weren't here. There are a lot of things that go on in this business that we can't control as players. You know our job is to play and everything else is left up to upstairs.

Q: How much was it killing Bledsoe to stand on the sidelines, you were pretty close to the guy you knew what he was going through?

WM: I think it bothered him, I mean being honest with you, but it is not just him, it is everybody. I mean who doesn't want to play who started their whole career? I mean that is hard for anybody to sit and watch, but again we had to do what's best for the team. The continuity and if we are pulling, going one way and that is basically what the coaches decided to do and we all just, we played our roles. We are not up there making decisions we are playing ball. Any guy, including myself, who has been a starter eight or nine years on the field and a leader and all of a sudden you are not one of those guys or your not out there, especially the run we had it is kind of hard, it's kind of hard to swallow.

Q: There were rumors last year about you retiring, can you address that?

WM: I don't know who put that out there, some dumb little blurb in the paper, the Inside Track, who never talked to me, who never talked to any of my people or anyone and as much as I love the game I never mentioned anything to that capacity or anything like that about retiring or anything close to that. So I don't know who started that rumor, it was ignorant on their part, but it was never true or anything close to it.

Q: There is an element of people out there that still say that Bledsoe should have stayed, he should have been the starter and breaking down Brady he didn't get better by the end of the season, his stats leveled off he could be a one hit wonder, how do you answer that?

WM: Well everybody has their own opinion and how many of those people would have left Brady in after Drew got hurt or how many of those people would have put Drew in after he got hurt after he returned, it doesn't really matter because the coaches and the organization make those decisions, we just play. Who knows what would have happened if Drew came back and took over the starting spot again, who knows. It didn't happen. Those are things that we don't control, those are things that we don't dictate, those are things that the higher powers. All we do is play. Drew is talented, Drew has a lot of skill and he will be successful with the Bills. He will help them in a lot of different ways.

Q: What about the Tom aspect that he is a one-hit wonder, really didn't' do much, he was really just a product of the team's success, how do you answer that?

WM: If that is the case I would rather have a quarterback in the game that is not doing much and a one-hit wonder and we keep winning Super Bowls. I would rather keep being a one-hit wonders every year and win Super Bowls. I have never won a championship on any level like we have and that's the best feeling in the world. People are going to say all kinds of things. Some people are going to say that Brady is the greatest quarterback that we ever had. Well you know what you can say that, he won a Super Bowl, whether his numbers stacked up or they didn't. A lot of people say he is a one-hit wonder, whatever the case may be it doesn't matter, the fact of the matter is Brady came in, he did a great job, he didn't do anything to lose games, he stayed focused, he played with a lot of heart, he made plays and he helped us win a Super Bowl. I mean that is the fact of the matter.

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