Gregory striving to be a starter


Gregory striving to be a starter

FOXBORO -- Steve Gregory walked onto the Gillette Stadium turf Thursday for his introduction to the New England media. He stretched his face toward the sun contentedly for a moment.

"Just like San Diego," he smiled.

Even after six seasons with the Chargers, don't think he'll hate Massachusetts in January; Gregory grew up in Staten Island, New York. He knows what the region is like -- that was part of the Patriots appeal.

"It's been great," he said of his new home. "Came back out here to the East Coast with my wife, and I'm excited. I'm excited to be here. Thankful to the Kraft family, coach Belichick and the organization for the opportunity to come out here and help this organization try and win a championship."

Yes, that last part is pretty important, too. The Syracuse grad gushed about how thrilled he is to move closer to home, but Gregory made it clear his focus is football.

"Just the chance to be a part of this organization. It's a winning organization," he said. "Everyone's goal is to win a Super Bowl, and I know that this gives me a great opportunity to do that."

In what capacity? Though Gregory has been used primarily as a defensive back, he also has experience on special teams. Considering New England's "the more you can do" mentality, that's not a bad thing.

Gregory knows it.

"Special teams -- that's the way I made my way in this league. I came in undrafted and really worked hard to work my way onto a roster," he said. "I did that in San Diego by playing hard on special teams; played all four. Did that for my first two years before I started to build up into playing time on defense. It's important. Special teams is part of the game and I look forward to playing and contributing on special teams as well."

His main focus will be elsewhere. The Patriots secondary needs help this offseason -- plenty of it -- and Gregory can play both safety positions as well as in the slot. His three-year, 7.05 million deal testifies to faith in his ability.

The 5-foot-11, 195-pound back is returning the favor with confidence.

"I think any player in this league . . . You strive yourself to be a starter in this league, you approach it that way. I'll approach practice, I'll approach the offseason, I'll approach everything to be a starter. I think that's the only way you can go about it. I think every player should go about it that way. The competition on the field will let it stand where it stands."