Arrington's taken long road to be pick leader

Arrington's taken long road to be pick leader
November 23, 2011, 7:32 pm
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FOXBORO The fact that the NFL's interceptions leader will be on the field when New England faces Philadelphia on Sunday is not that surprising.

Asante Samuel? Nnamdi Asomugha? Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie? All are pro bowl-caliber cornerbacks. But the league's leader in picks thus far this season is New England's Kyle Arrington.

Seriously.

Arrington, who less than two years ago would have given anything just to be on the 53-man roster of the Patriots -- or any NFL team for that matter -- has been one of the few bright spots on a Patriots defense that has been inconsistent most of this season.

The 25-year-old cornerback leads the NFL with seven interceptions, a major improvement from his career total before this season . . . of one.

"I just come into work everyday, try to get better," Arrington said. "That's what we're all trying to do. Stats (are) no concern for us."

Maybe not, but they can go far in shaping Arrington's future, a future that looks a lot brighter now than it did when he was coming out of college.

Undrafted out of Hofstra -- a school that no longer has a football program -- Arrington is the latest where-did-he-come-from success story for the Patriots (7-3) who come into Sunday's game with a two-game lead in the AFC East.

After appearing in nine games in 2009 (eight with New England and one with Tampa Bay), Arrington came into his own in 2010 while appearing in all 16 regular season games and tallying 71 tackles.

This season, he has been even more impressive.

Along with an NFL-best seven interceptions, Arrington also has 50 tackles which puts him on pace to set a personal best in that category as well.

And to think, just dressing for every game would have been good enough for Arrington just a few months ago.

"It's definitely a blessing," said Arrington, who spent a week in Philadelphia's training camp in 2008. "I put a lot of hard work in these last 18 months. But by no means am I satisfied, or where I want to be or think I should be."