FOXBORO -- Dominique Easley and other Patriots recent draftees met with Bill Belichick on Monday morning for the first time as teammates.
Easley relayed the message the players got during his introductory press conference at Gillette Stadium. It was simple.
"We're a little far behind," Easley said. "We got work to do. Everybody wants to be great. Everybody wants to be great so we got a lot of work to do."
This year's draft class may have about two full weeks less than last year's crop to get ready for training camp. A late draft combined with an opening to camp that could start as early as 15 days prior to New England's first preseason game means the clock is already ticking on the rookies.
They arrived to the area yesterday and had dinner as a group. Then, according to Easley, they had their physicals and met with Belichick.
Easley, who is still recovering from ACL and medial meniscus tears suffered in November, said he has no firm timetable for when he'll be at full strength or able to participate in on-the-field work.
"I'm real anxious," he said. "As of right now I'm meeting with the trainers so we're discussing that right now. I don't really know. As soon as possible."
Easley strode to a stage at midfield of Gillette Stadium with both Robert and Jonathan Kraft without a noticeable limp. He said his most comfortable playing weight is 288 pounds, which is where he was when measured at the Combine.
According to what Easley saw in the locker room, he'll be wearing jersey No. 74 in his first season. He wore No. 2 in college and said he didn't have any connection to No. 74, but that that didn't matter much.
"Name," he said, "makes the jersey, you know?"
Here are a few other quotes of note from his introductory press conference.
On what Robert Kraft told him upon their meeting:
"Just work as hard as you can. We got a great program and it's something great to be a part of so just work. Work."
On having college teammate Jon Halapio join him in New England (6th round selection):
"Yeah It's good to have people that I've been to college with around for four years so for me it makes it a little bit more comfortable. . .We're real close."
On who won battles between him and Halapio during Florida practices:
"It was even back and forth."
On what makes Halapio a good player:
"Just his heart really. His warmth for the game, his will for the game and his love for the game."
On how his family's military service has inspired him:
"Really that helped me as a man. There's no excuse for nothing. They're put in situations where it's life or death. The life we're living now is much easier than the life they had to live and go towards . . . I'm really appreciative of this. There's a lot of people don't get to really experience this type of life so it's a blessing for me."
On the gold necklace he wore to the press conference:
"It's my son's name and my last name. I carry it around. He's not able to be here with me so I carry him everywhere I go." (Easley's son is named Dominique Easley II.)