QUARTERBACK TOM BRADY
LINEBACKER JUNIOR SEAU
HEAD COACH BILL BELICHICK
October 14, 2009
BB: OK, so we’re spending a couple days here on Tennessee. As I said Monday and also on the conference call yesterday, this is a real good football team. They’re a very experienced team, well-coached, tough, physical team. They do a great job running the ball. They do a great job defending the run. They cover kicks. [They have] good skill players, good pass rushers, a real good front, so you can see why they won a lot of games last year. They do a lot of things well. Jeff [Fisher] has done a great job down there for the 14 years he’s been there. They play very consistently. They play very well, so we know this is going to be a big challenge for us this week. Chris Johnson’s as good a back as we’re going to face all year, as good a back as I’ve seen in awhile. He’s really impressive, so is everybody else. They have a lot of good players – receivers, tight ends, offensive linemen, outstanding kicker, defensive front, linebackers, good safeties, so they have a lot of good players.
Q: There was a coach around here sometime back that used to say you are what your record says you are. They are 0-5, why should I believe that 0-5 is not accurate to what they are right now?
BB: Well, I’m not speaking about what their record is. I’m just saying get ready for their football team. They’ve got good talent, they’ve got good players, they play hard and that’s what we have to get ready for, so that’s what we’re going to do.
Q: What has been the difference this year?
BB: They lost by a field goal against Pittsburgh. [Titans] got one [blocked] there. They lost by a field goal against the Texans. It’s 14-9 against Indianapolis with a minute to go at half. They’re playing without some of their best players. They lost a tight game against the Jets, fumbled a couple punts. A couple plays here and there like we’ve all seen. Everybody’s been down that road before, but they’re tough, they do a lot of things well. They’re going to win their share of games, don’t worry.
Q: Can you comment on the signing and arrival of Junior Seau, what he might be able to bring to this team and do you feel like the bull stomped the rust off of him?
BB: That was certainly an exciting play that Junior was involved in there, but it’s good to have Junior back. He brings a lot of energy, experience and toughness to our team. We’ve been kind of talking about this for a little while, but worked it out here in the last day or two. He’s here today and we’re glad to have him. We’ll just take it day to day. I don’t know exactly how things will work this week, next week or any other week as far as game plans, utilization of our defensive personnel and so forth. I’m sure he’ll contribute for us and it’s good to have him.
Q: What was the impetus of bringing him back? Obviously he’s in great shape, but at what point did you feel you could incorporate him into your defense?
BB: It’s something we talked about for quite a while. I don’t think Junior was going to be in training camp, so once that time passed then it was kind of on to the next discussion.
Q: How important is his leadership to a relatively young group of linebackers?
BB: Junior has a great approach to football. He has got a lot of energy. He has a lot of enthusiasm for the game. I don’t think I have coached too many players – I’m not saying they’re not passionate – but I haven’t coached too many that are any more passionate than Junior is. So I think that’s good for all of us. It’s good for him, it’s good for all the players, it’s good for the coaches [and] it’s good for the team. He brings a lot of positive energy and toughness, so those things are all good. I think there’re a lot of guys that have that, too, on our team. It’s not like we don’t have anybody, but he brings it and you can always use another one and he definitely does that.
Q: How uncommon is it to see someone 40-years old still have those physical skills to play in this league?
BB: It’s pretty rare. He’s a pretty special guy. I think we all know that. Physically – his make-up, his instincts – he’s just a football player and a real good one. He’s a Hall of Fame guy and not too many of those come down the pike.
Q: We’ve seen this year what 40-year old Brett Favre can do, but do you think what Junior could be able to contribute is more special because of what is asked of a defensive player, especially in this system?
BB: I’m not going to make any predictions or try to rank anything. We’re glad to have him. We’ll get him out on the practice field today and just go from there, take it day-to-day.
Q: Is he going to play a strong side, inside?
BB: Well, Junior’s a pretty versatile guy. He’s played inside for us on both the strong and weak side. He’s played in our sub defenses. He’s actually played outside. He’s a pretty versatile guy depending on the scheme and what we have called. I’m sure that he’ll work at a lot of different spots like he usually does.
Q: Where do you anticipate him playing most?
BB: We’ll have to wait and see.
Q: Is there a certain area where you think he can help you the most, whether it’s stopping the run or improving your pass rush?
BB: I think he’ll do the best he can at whatever we ask him to do.
Q: With the injuries the Titans have had in their secondary, what does that mean for your passing game?
BB: Well, I know [Cortland] Finnegan didn’t play the last two weeks, but he’s an outstanding player. We played against him back in ‘06. Seeing him through the years, great speed, quickness, good ball hawker, very good cover skills – both man and zone. He’s a very instinctive player, so we certainly have to be ready for him. The two rookies – [Ryan] Mouton and [Jason] McCourty – both fast guys. They’ve done a good job when they’ve been in there, so they have pretty…Those guys have gotten some experience. They’ve got very experienced safeties, of course, with [Michael] Griffin and [Chris] Hope back there, a real good front. They have a couple of young guys playing back there, but I think they’ve held up well and they’re getting better. They both can run. McCourty’s a good tackler, a physical guy. Both of those guys have shown up in the kicking game, so I’m sure they have confidence in them and they should.
Q: From watching them on tape do you think they’ve missed Albert Haynesworth’s presence?
BB: Their front’s pretty good – nobody’s really run the ball on them. They’ve knocked the passer down a lot. A guy like that of course…they’re pretty good in there and it doesn’t really matter who they put in there. They rotate all those guys through and they’re all pretty good. They put a lot of pressure in the pocket. They put a lot of pressure on the running game. Nobody’s really run the ball against them.
Q: You’ve had a number of rookies on both sides of the ball contribute both this year and last, are there similarities between all those rookies?
BB: I think they do work hard, similar to last year’s group. I think they do work hard – football’s important to them. They’re here early, they stay late, they work on the field, they’re attentive and I think they’re getting better. They’ve been out there on the field consistently and when you’re out there day after day, you’re paying attention and you’re working hard, it’s hard not to improve and they’ve done that. They still have a long way to go, but as a group I think they’re heading in the right direction. They’ve gone at different rates; some guys have started faster, level off and start to climb again [and] other guys started slower and they’re starting to crest a little bit now. We’ll see how it goes. Each week’s its own challenge for all of us – coaches, players, rookies, veterans. [We need to] keep improving and keep doing a better job of what we’re doing and that certainly includes them. We’re not looking for anybody to level off. We want everybody to stay on that upswing, whether it’s a 10-year veteran or a rookie, but especially for the young guys. There are a lot of things they need to work on and they need to keep doing that, stay with it and stay the course.
Q: You said a lot of nice things about the Titans despite the fact they are 0-5. Do you think there might be a tendency of some players to take the game a little too easily? What do you as a coach to…
BB: I would just turn on the projector. That’s all I would do is just turn on the projector. I think anybody that would say that about the Titans obviously hasn’t seen them play. I don’t know how you could watch them on film and possibly think that unless you were sleeping while the film was rolling. I don’t know how you could possibly think that.
Q: I know your focus is on the Titans this week, but I was hoping to get a few words about your trip to London. Are you looking forward to it at all?
BB: Yeah we are. Obviously, right now it’s on the back burner, but when it comes it’s a great opportunity for all of us to play in a new venue. When that game was scheduled in the spring it was very unique obviously, so there’s anticipation there. But again, at this time it’s not really something we’re thinking about, but it will come in a little while. When it does come I know there’s a little….That’s a little extra special game on your schedule that you know you don’t normally have. You have all your division games, all your other games and when you’re playing on in London, put a little asterisk by that one; that one’s a little bit different than the rest of them. When that comes that will be an interesting experience for us.
Q: How important for the NFL is it to expand beyond America?
BB: I don’t know. You would have to talk to the people in the NFL about that. I’m just trying to coach this team. I’m trying to win a game.
Q: For you, yourself personally…
BB: For me, myself personally, my most important team is the New England Patriots and I just want us to go out and win.
Q: So it’s not a distraction, really?
BB: Going to London, not a distraction?
Q: When things start to snowball during a game how difficult is it to stop it and what do you have to do to turn it around?
BB: I think when you are in games that come down to a couple plays it comes down to which teams make those plays. Honestly, most teams are in those kinds of games about every week. There might be a few that you have that aren’t like that, but for the most part we’ve played nine games – 4 preseason games, 5 regular season game – I would say every game has pretty much came down to the last possession. We’ve won some of them; we’ve lost some of them. You look at a lot of other teams…Look at the team we played last week – it’s the same thing with them. Tennessee – that’s pretty much the way it is in this league: last couple possessions, last three or four minutes in the fourth quarter. If things happen a certain way at that point in time then that affects the outcome of the game. When you get to that point or the process of getting to that point [and] you make a few more plays than your opponents do, you come out on top. If they make a few more plays than you do, they come out on top. I don’t think that’s any big secret.
Q: Last week against the Broncos you played a lot of cover three defense. What goes into a decision like that?
BB: I don’t think any defense is designed to concede deep routes. Whatever coverage you play, if they complete something you always want them to complete it in front of you, not behind you. Defenses we call in that game or any game is what we feel is the best in that situation for whatever the combination of reasons are. That’s what it will be going forward. We’ll call what we feel is best on offense, defense and special teams. I hope that we can go out there and execute those plays better than our opponents do.
Q: Do you anticipate seeing Vincent Fuller?
BB: Well I think we have to be ready for every player on the roster, if a player is on the active roster [and] there’s always the possibility that a practice player could come up as well. We do our due diligence every week and prepare for the players that are active and the ones that can potentially be active. Which ones they want to use and how they want to use them is not in our control, but we certainly have to get ready for them. That always includes the backup quarterbacks and the other skill players and other players that we think are going to be active or are active on a weekly basis that they could put in there. We definitely have to prepare for Vince and for other players. As we all know one play could lead to a substitution, so we have to be ready for all of them.
Q: In England a lot of soccer coaches have looked to the NFL coaches for tips. Is that something NFL coaches have done to soccer coaches?
BB: I can’t speak for any other coaches, but that’s something I haven’t had a lot of opportunity to do, no. I probably couldn’t name one team in the England premier national soccer league or whatever it is –federation.
Q: Have you ever eaten fish and chips?
BB: Yeah, sure absolutely. I’ve been to London a couple times. It’s great.
Q: At Wembley there is a pitch and in the last couple of years it cuts up and it’s not conducive to the NFL. Is that something you’re aware of?
BB: That is the kind of thing we’ll talk about next week. Right now our focus is on the Titans. No disrespect to you guys, I know you are here trying to do your job, but we’re trying to do ours. Next week we’ll take into consideration all the things that are a little bit different, whether it be the venue, the field, the preparation, the time, all that stuff – absolutely. That’s all part of the planning and schedule leading up to the game and those are important elements to play the game, but that’s not something we’re doing right this second. But it’s all part of the preparation.
PATRIOTS QUARTERBACK TOM BRADY
Oct. 14, 2009
Q: [On consistency in the offense]
TB: Well, we’ve all got to play better. I think — as a whole — we’ve done it in spurts at times and at other times we haven’t. When you play like that, there’s a reason why you end up at 3-2 at this time, and we’re trying to make these improvements. The team has worked hard and I think everybody’s excited to get back on the practice field today.
Q: Have you been happy with the contributions that have come in the passing game from people not named Randy Moss or Wes Welker?
TB: Well, you’re always trying to find ways to get the ball to your best players. When you’re in there, you do try to get Randy [Moss] and Wes [Welker] the ball, and the other guys play the role that they have. They’ve been productive at times, I mean, Joey [Galloway] has, and Sam [Aiken] has, and Julian [Edelman] has, and they’re good players. It’s just about finding ways to get them the ball, when it’s not going to those two other guys. You’ve got to get everybody involved. The more productive plays you have and [the more productive] players you have, the more the defense can’t really focus on those two particular guys.
Q: As a golfer, you know that if you don’t play a lot, the short game is the first thing to go and the last thing to get back. As a quarterback, when you don’t play for a while, is the long pass the first thing to go and the last thing to get back?
TB: I’m not sure. I mean, you’re right, we haven’t hit them this year. Coach hammered into us today that we haven’t had a pass over 40 yards yet this year in five games. It’s something that I’ve got to do a better job of. There’s only one way to do it and that’s to go out there and work on it. You’ve got to hit them, that’s why you play quarterback. You’ve got to go out and the complete the balls that are there when we have opportunities down the field; you don’t get them often and — when you get them — you have to really take advantage of them.
Q: [On working on the long pass in practice]
TB: We hit them in practice … In practice, everyone looks pretty good all the time. You drop the cards against the best look and the scout team is in the most favorable position for the offense. It’s really a matter of how it comes down on game day and the level of execution. Like I said, I’ve got to do a better job of hitting those deep ones.
Q: On that pass to Wes Welker, it looked like he had a clear path to the end zone. How frustrating is that?
TB: I talked about that after the game. I kind of said everything I needed to say on that and I’m focused on Tennessee. We’ve got to hit the passes that are there against Tennessee. We’ve got to go out and play well. You can’t miss opportunities against this team. It’s a very tough game and to have opportunities out there that you don’t make you don’t give yourself a very good opportunity to win.
Q: Talk about what it means to have Junior Seau back.
TB: You know, I was in there lifting weights. I walked in at 6:45, and he was already in there in like a full sweat. He hasn’t changed at all. He brings a lot of energy to the team and excitement. Attitude is everything with Junior. He’s a great professional and he shows great leadership. And he’s a playmaker. He’s a guy that, there’s only one of him. There’s only one of him that’s ever played and I’m glad he’s back on the team.
Q: You’ve said that you’d like to play until you’re around 40. If you could talk about Junior’s physical skills and what it takes to play this game at that age.
TB: He looks great when you see him. He looks like he’s 25. He works out really hard. He has incredible mental toughness, I think if there’s one thing that I’ve learned from him over the years. I remember when he broke his arm a few years ago in the Chicago game. He ran off holding it. He got on a plane that night and went surfing like two days later. That’s how he lives his life. He’s just a very excitable player. Like I said, there’s very few people that you can bring into the locker room at this stage that bring that type of leadership and experience that he has, and that can also still play very well, but he certainly can do that.
Q: Can you talk about your protection, potentially playing without Matt Light against this Tennessee defense?
TB: It’s a great front. They really have … The front seven is very aggressive. They’re all up-field, they get to the quarterback. They really do a great job of attacking from different angles. When I watched the Colts game, the first half of that game, they were really getting after Peyton [Manning]. It seems like the four starters in there, but everybody they kind of roll through there that plays, they’re all of kind of the same — they’re not the same — but they’re kind of the same guy. They just get after the passer. That’s definitely something that you see consistently from that team. They’ve done that for a long time since Coach [Jeff] Fisher’s been there; he’s had really the same kind of defensive style and that’s get up the field and get after the quarterback, force him into making quick throws and poor judgments. They had a lot of interceptions last year, which hopefully we’ll try not to throw to them this week.
Q: How impressed were you with how Peyton Manning handled their defense last week? They have a lot of looks, but it seems like they mostly only came at you with four players.
TB: They blitz about 20 percent of the time, so you’re right. It’s not a ton. But there are teams that certainly blitz 50 percent of the time, like Denver did, the Jets did, Baltimore did. A lot of teams are heavy blitzers. It’s just different philosophy, and what they do, they do very well. Peyton’s always in control back there. He’s a great player and he played a great game against them. That’s what you need from the quarterback position because if you make mistakes, they really take advantage of the opportunities.
Q: Have you gotten to see the clip of Junior Seau and the bull?
TB: I think all of us have seen it at one point or another. Yeah, I saw that on YouTube. It’s pretty funny. He was giving the whole lowdown on it this morning. He said, ‘You just have to play dead and loosen your muscles. If you tighten up, that’s when it really gets you.’ He said it was the 28th bull of the day — no one knows that. He said, ‘I really tried to get a little too close. I tried to go right, it went right. Then, I tried to get left.’ You’ll have to ask him about it, it’s a pretty good story. He loves telling it, his face lights up. Hopefully, there are no running backs as big as those bulls — though Chris Johnson, he’s as fast as anybody.
Q: Did Junior getting struck by the bull give him some insight into what it’s like to be a quarterback?
TB: Yeah, when everyone’s coming at you. It’s probably pretty similar to those bulls. Junior’s kind of crazy though, that’s why he’s in the bullring. Not many people would choose to do that, but Junior is one of them.
Q: In your experience, does it take time for each offense to sort of take on an identity at a certain point in the season? If so, what do you think would be this offense’s identity?
TB: Well, free agency starts, the season starts in March. You sign new players and then you try to evaluate and self-scout from the previous season. Then, you go into the mini camps and passing camps with some new ideas and say, ‘this is what we’re going to do,’ and ‘this is where we need to get better.’ And you try a lot of new things. You work on them through training camp, and into the preseason. And then the regular season, you’re kind of forming what the team is going to be. You know, like I said, in some ways we’ve done some very positive things over the five weeks. In a lot of ways, it’s been inconsistent, which reflects in the amount of points that we’re scoring. If we could be more consistent, we’d be scoring more points, we’d be winning more games, and everyone would be feeling a lot better around here. But because that hasn’t happened, we’re still searching. It’s not plays, it’s execution. That’s what it comes down to. We’ve got to out and execute better. We’ve got to go out on the practice field and execute better and continue to do whatever Coach [Bill] Belichick asks us to do.
Q: When you say that you’re ‘still searching,’ does that mean that you’re still looking for something to hang your hat on to say that’s what you are?
TB: Well, it’s finding different ways to produce on offense. Like I said, some weeks you try — [thinking] this a great way to do it — you put together what you’re going to do, and you go out there, and some things work great and some things don’t. It’s bad execution and it doesn’t look good when you don’t complete the passes, even though it’s a great play against the right defense, it doesn’t end up working and being productive. You’re just always searching for ways on offense and that’s what defenses do. They find things that they do well and that’s what you do. If you continue to do things poorly, then you don’t give yourself much a chance. You find the things that you do well and you build on it. You understand the things you do poorly and then you try to improve on those things, so you don’t make them as big a part of the plan.
Q: It seemed earlier in this decade, you were very efficient in running the ball, whether it was Corey Dillon, or Antowain Smith back there. The last couple of years, you’ve seemed to get away from that and you guys don’t run as effectively now as you did back then.
TB: I think last year we were like third in the league in rushing, or something like that. We were a pretty good team in 2007, but we were more a passing team. Every year, the different skill positions that you have on the team, it changes. You play to your strengths. And we certainly have great running backs that have run it very well this year at times. It’s just being balanced and playing complimentary between the run, and the pass, and the play-action pass. The better you can run the ball, the better a play-action pass works, or vice versa. The better drop-back pass you have, the better your draws, traps and screens are. They all feed off of one another, when any phase is really not in sync, then the other phase typically isn’t in sync. Once you get them kind of working and rolling, then it all looks pretty good.
Q: Do you think other offenses are really buying into your running game right now the way they might have in the past?
TB: Like I said, if they’re not, we’re always going to try to stay balanced. If they think we’re going to run it, or they don’t think we’re going to run it, we’ve got to run it at times anyway to be effective. On third and one, you’re probably going to run the ball. If you’re on the goal line, you’re going to run it. When you’re in a four-minute situation when you’re protecting a lead, you’re going to run it. You’ve got to run it when they know you’re going to run it and you’re going to have to run it against pass looks also. It’s important. We’ve got some good backs. Getting them the ball with space — like in the Baltimore game — it wasn’t a huge output, but you’ve got to run it enough to really stay balanced against those guys.
Q: Have you talked to Peyton Manning about recovering from his injury and how long it took him to get back to game speed?
TB: I haven’t talked to him about it. I’m sure most of the situations are a little bit different. But it’s just about going back to work. When you don’t play as well as you’d like, there’s really no secret to it. You just have to get out there and do it, and do it better, and be more focused, and be more concentrated. [You have to] go on the practice field with a sense of urgency. That’s the way to overcome it. You’ve just got to say ‘this is what it is,’ and ‘this is what we’re not doing a very good job of,’ and ‘this is what I’m not doing a very good job of’ and trying to do it better.
Q: [On playing with confidence]
TB: It’s hugely important. For example, if you don’t hit a pass, you can’t loose your confidence and think I can’t complete passes anymore. I think of it more like, ‘Wow, the defense was pretty lucky there I didn’t complete it.’ The confidence that you bring as a quarterback, as a running back, as a wide receiver, to your teammates is what’s very important. I’m always bringing that positive, confident attitude, no matter what’s happening in the game, or what’s been happening that week, or previous week. That’s what makes good leaders. You’ve got to be the one to ultimately go out there and perform better. And everyone counts on me to perform at a certain level. I count on them to do their job. When you’re not doing it, it’s very frustrating, you really feel in a way that you’re letting your teammates down. You also have to have the resiliency to go back out there and give it your best.
Q: Looking ahead to the London game, given your level of celebrity here, will it almost be a relief to be going somewhere where you’re not known as well?
TB: That would be wonderful. That would be great. Yeah, I think it will be a great experience for us. The team’s really looking forward to it. It’s coming fast, the season’s going by pretty quickly. I think there’s two games before the bye week, and the second one being in London. It feels like we just started. It will be fun when we head over there. Hopefully, we head over there at 4-2.
Q: Are you going to do any sightseeing while you’re in London?
TB: No, I think our coach will have us pretty well … I think we’ll be in the most remote area, there won’t be anything within miles. We probably won’t do a whole lot of that, not on this trip.
Q: I’m sure you’re aware of David Beckham and his wife Victoria’s notoriety over there. Do you feel your situation here kind of mirrors theirs in comparison in England?
TB: I’m aware of it. It’s hard not to be aware of it. But I don’t see much of a comparison, I really don’t. He’s older. He’s got a lot more kids. He’s a lot faster than me. But he’s certainly a great player.
Q: Have you met him [Beckham]?
Q: What was that experience like? What did you think of him?
TB: He’s a very nice guy. He loves playing soccer and he’s very good at it. He obviously makes a big commitment in the work that he’s done to travel as much as he has to play here and in Europe. You play at a very highly competitive level, I think that’s what drives all of us. We want to be the best we can possibly be and to continue to find ways to challenge yourself. I think that’s a big part of our lives.
Q: How would you feel if Rush Limbaugh bought the Patriots?
TB: Would I get a raise? There might be less taxes to pay. Yeah, who knows what will happen with that.
Q: Any thoughts on that whole situation?
TB: A lot of people have kind of been weighing in on that the last few days. I’m about … No, I have no comment. Sorry guys, thank you.
Q: Have you been to England before?
TB: Yes, a couple of times.
Q: Have you ever been to Wembley Stadium?
Q: Do you know any English Premier League soccer teams?
TB: Yeah, I know them all. “Man U” [Manchester United], that’s my team.
LINEBACKER JUNIOR SEAU
October 14, 2009
Q: Earlier in the season you talked about coming back later. At this point, it’s a little earlier than you’ve been talking about…
JS: Well it’s always going to be Bill’s time. It always has been. Forecasting what happens in the National Football League and my career, I’ve learned after nineteen years of playing in this league, we really don’t control that. I, basically in eight months, have been working out for a chance to make a choice. A chance I didn’t have control of, Bill had control of. But the choice was to be prepared for that chance, so for eight months I have been training to receive a chance and to have a choice and here we are.
Q: How hard was it working out at that level knowing you might not have the chance to play?
JS: Now, let me help you with that. I said I worked out. That doesn’t mean I worked out for…in the game of football, you really cannot train to be in football shape unless you have a helmet on and you have ten other guys shooting for your knees. But to be able to go through eight months of training to have a chance, it’s tough. There’s a lot of discipline in that, and I have a lot of great people surrounded me during that course and I definitely have to thank them. It’s tough to do when you don’t have a goal. For the first time in my career I was training for hope and a chance to obviously choose. It came out that obviously Bill made a call and here we are.
Q: What are your impressions of the team considering a lot of your teammates are much younger?
JS: There’s a line-backing core that I have now that were probably in first grade when I was a rookie. So there’s a lot of youth but they can play the game. So if there’s anything that I can help them where either in the meeting room or whether it’s in the weight room, whatever it may take, it’s going to be fun playing with them, but we’re definitely young.
Q: How tough is it to leave the game?
JS: It’s not tough to leave the game. There’s such a great lifestyle that you work so long for to enjoy. I’m not going to cry about cutting up oranges and apples and packing a cooler and going to a football game, my son’s football game, or my daughter’s volleyball games and heading home and surfing for three hours. Having a tuna sandwich and playing the eukalaly. There’s nothing bad about that so I did not miss it. It’s just part of my life. I love life challenges and I live for those moments. I live for those moments. This is a challenge. I can’t forecast what’s going to happen, just give me a helmet and we’ll work on it.
Q: How did the bull manage to run you down?
JS: Guy’s, [the bull weights] 2,000 pounds. I should have thought about it. I didn’t say I was so smart – a smart person. That bull came at me I gave it a juke right, he looked at me and goes, ‘nuh uh’. I gave him a juke left and the bull said, ‘saw that one too.’ I should have just done a Bruschi swim, but I didn’t have the right technique. So I tried to eject and he caught me. He caught me. I was fortunate enough to get out of that, but it was definitely a moment in time that I will never forget. It was exciting. Being in that ring, in the rest of the ring with the bullfighters and bull riders – what they do every day, stepping in between the rider. You’re stepping in between a rider and a 2,000-pound bull. Those are men. Those are men. I have a great respect for them. That had nothing to do with show biz. That was real. I have the bruises to show you.
Q: How can you best help this team? Is it on the field, off the field, is it both?
JS: On and off the field, the best thing I do is I lean on Bill Belichick. And the reason why I say that is that Bill doesn’t kick around tires and say, ‘I’m just going to go and grab a guy that’s 40 years old, off the surf board, and say to come join us.’ He has a plan. His plan is something that we’re going to try and implement – whatever it may be. He knows who I am. I know what he has to offer. I trust Bill. Because I trust Bill, I’m here today. What am I going to do? How am I going to help the team? You know, I can’t forecast that. I wish I could. If I could, I wouldn’t be a football player. I wouldn’t. Just give me a helmet, I guarantee you I’m going to be the best player that I can be today and we’ll build from there.
Q: What can you show those players that were in first grade [when you started in the NFL]?
JS: I don’t want to address them as first grade players. I mean, these guys work hard to be where they are and I respect them for who they are and what they’ve done. My job is to go in there and work, like I’ve worked for nineteen years, no different.
Q: With all the interesting sports jobs you had – filming the TV show – do you think this job is the one you’ve always been meant to have?
JS: Well “Sports Jobs”, the show is basically me living the life of those that work behind the scenes. For the pro’s to be pro’s. So it’s a different venue. I’m used to going out there and run around and jumping on a pile and pretend that I made a tackle, and there are people that come before all that to allow us to be able to do all that. I mean my trainers, my equipment managers, our field people that work on the field, our concession stands, all these people, security guards – there are so many people that work behind the scenes that don’t get any love and I get to enjoy that. I get to give some of that back and say thank you for the nineteen years. But that’s what our show’s about
Q: Obviously you’re in great physical shape, you work out and you passed the physical here, how curious are you in your own ability to maintain the high level of play that this franchise has a history of and that you’re used to individually?
JS: I’m not worried about that. If I was worried about that I wouldn’t be here today. One thing I know is that you can’t coach courage. You can’t. You give me a B, an A gap, I’m going through there until I break glass. I will go through the A and B gap until I break glass and that’s what I do. I’m not afraid of whether or not I’m going to bring to the table a level that I had twenty years ago; that’s not going to happen. Again, back to the box, the box is basically what Bill needs. He’ll tell me what it is. If I got to be a plumber today, I’ll be a plumber. Whatever it may be; I’m just here to help.
Q: With that being said, if he says he needs you this Sunday, can you go right away?
JS: Again, whatever Bill needs, whatever Bill needs.
Q: Tom Brady said that he came in here early to the weight room to do his lift and he saw you in a full sweat. What time did you get here and how eager were you to get into that weight room and put on that sweat?
JS: Working out in the morning at 5:30 is a norm for me. That’s part of my day. That’s just not here in New England. It’s not part of me because of the National Football League. I’ve done that for nineteen years and that’s never going to change. Allowing myself to get up in the morning and enjoying a work out to treat me, is a quiet time. It’s my way of gathering up and regrouping and reconnecting, so that’s never going to change. It’s so nice being up in the morning and a lot of the players are in there. A lot of the players are in there. So, you don’t need to give me kudos for working out, that’s part of my life.
Q: No, I’m just saying to you, was there any eagerness, added eagerness to, ‘Hey, I’m going to be doing it now, in the Patriots locker room.’
JS: You know everyone asks are you eager, are you excited. I’m too old to be excited. Can I say that? I am. I’m too old to jump up for joy. I know that the only way this is all going to be exciting to anyone, [is] if it works, if it works. The challenge is what we do from here on out. I’m not going to blow out the cake and jump around. This isn’t the time to do that. It’s time to go to work. Give me a helmet and let’s build a player that I can be this year. That’s all I ask.
Q: You said before this is the only team you would come back for. What makes this team different than the other thirty-one?
JS: Easy. I know the system. I trust the coach and the ownership and the coaches in this organization and I have a lot of love for the players in the locker room. That’s the reason why I wanted to come back to only one team. It has nothing to do with the San Diego Chargers being a hometown team. I wouldn’t be able to give the San Diego Chargers what they need because I don’t know the locker room. There’s so many things that I don’t know, that are so unknown, to give me a chance to help them perform at a high level and I trust this coach, Bill Belichick.
Q: How much longer can you keep doing this?
JS: Tell Bill stop calling and I won’t answer.
Q: So if he called next year…?
JS: Tell Bill, that it’s day by day. You can close it by not calling me. Let me surf, I won’t be back.
Q: Would you be here today if you had won a ring already?
JS: If I had a ring in place, I would probably think otherwise. I would probably think otherwise. There are so many things that evolve to the decision that I made to coming back.
Q: What are your impressions of Jerod Mayo?
JS: Jerod Mayo, the sky’s the limit for the kid. The sky’s the limit. He’s the leader on this defense and [Gary] Guyton’s doing a heck of a job in the middle. We have two great linebackers up and coming.
Q: How can you help them?
JS: One day at a time. I can help them all one day at a time. I can’t forecast that. For me to talk about what I’m going to do, you would never get that out of me. You won’t. Just give me a helmet and let me work.
Q: There’s been a lot of talk about inconsistency with this team, you’ve watched them from a far, you come back with an opportunity, you say to win a ring, but you see that as being a goal still here?
JS: Let me just clear that question up. He’s asking about the inconsistency of what’s been going on. We’re going to forget about everything that happened in the past. We’re going forward. We’re going forward. It’s a new day; it’s a new challenge.
Q: But do you see this as a viable team that can win?
JS: It’s a new day, a new challenge. The ultimate goal is what? To win a ring. That’s the ultimate goal. Are we? No, we don’t know that. That’s part of a forecast. Everyone should have that goal, but whatever has happened in the past, whether it’s good or bad, what you have to do in this league, one thing you have to do in this league is have short term memory. When you’re good, cut it off, real quick. Next day there’s a different challenge. You do bad. You do the same thing. You do the same thing. Be consistent, and with that, you’ll make it in this league.