By Danny Picard
FOXBORO -- @font-face font-family: "Times New Roman";p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal margin: 0in 0in 0.0001pt; font-size: 12pt; font-family: "Times New Roman"; table.MsoNormalTable font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Times New Roman"; div.Section1 page: Section1; Its safe to say that Ras-I Dowling wont be participatingin the same off-the-field activities as Nate Solder.
The Patriots selected Dowling with the 33rd overall pick onFriday the first pick in the second round and in his post-selectionconference call, the cornerback from Virginia described himself as a strongbeliever in Jesus Christ who enjoyed going to church and reading the Bible inhis spare time.
Thats somewhat different from the hobbies of New Englandsfirst-round selection, Nate Solder, who enjoyed hunting in his free time.
But similar to Solder, Dowling is thrilled to have beendrafted by the Patriots, and said hes willing to do whatever the team needshim to do, in order to win.
I was just rejoicing with my family that this opportunitycame to me, said Dowling from his home in Chesapeake, Virginia. I reallywasnt surprised, because I believe in my abilities.
Im just really happy it was the Patriots, he said. Itsa great organization, and Im just happy to be there.
Dowling said he had no pre-draft visit with anyone from thePatriots organization. In fact, the only pre-draft contact he had, was at thecombine, the same way he spoke with other teams.
He also said that he had no experience manning the slot orplaying safety in college, but did believe special teams was an important partof his game.
Thats one aspect every team needs to win a game, he said.
Dowlings father named him after the professional boxer,Livingstone Bramble, who later changed his name to Ras-I. But the 6-foot-1,198-pound cornerback couldnt dodge the punches that are the injury concernssurrounding his name.
Dowling played only five games during his senior season atthe University of Virginia, thanks to several leg injuries. In his conferencecall on Friday, he said hes been 100 percent for a while.
Im feeling great, said Dowling. Im 100 percent. If wehad camp tomorrow, Id be ready to go.
Im just a strong believer in Jesus Christ, and just havingmy faith, he added about how he deals with injuries. Whenever my time is up,hes going to lift me up in his glory.
Danny Picard is on Twitter at http:twitter.comDannyPicard.