FOXBORO -- Over here, we got the Rutgers safety who wants to be a labor lawyer. Over here is the TCU wide receiver that got his sociology degree in three-and-a-half-years and went into the draft after his junior year of football.
At the center of small scrums on the Gillette Stadium field Friday morning the newly-minted Patriots draft choices met with media and presented exceptionally well.
And since these players will spend no time showing their football wares to the media, we’ll pass on news of what we can evaluate. And that, on Friday, was poise.
I toddled over to the group surrounding third-round pick Duron Harmon while he was in the midst of discussing his interest in the law. Specifically, union stuff.
"You can do a lot of different things with labor relations, (Harmon’s main course of study at Rutgers)," he explained. "I’m choosing to pursue labor law. Maybe even be a consultant for companies down the line."
Asked if he followed the NFL’s 2011 CBA discussions, Harmon confirmed he did and explained it was “one of the things that helped me want to go to law school and study labor law.”
The Patriots have generally been big on smarts and maturity when it comes to hiring. Sometimes they’ve rolled the dice and gotten lucky with guys who were thought to be turds. Sometimes they’ve recruited possible turds who turned out to be actual turds.
This crop of players -- at first glance -- appears turd free, at least at the top.
Talking to Boyce about getting his degree early, he replied, “I just handle my business. And while I’m here I’m handling my business too.”
When a question was posed to Boyce about the Patriots offense being hard to master for some of his predecessors, Boyce answered with direct certainty, “I will. I will pick it up.”
A few other quick hits from the media access period.
BOYCE on his broken toe
“It’s doing good. Day-to-day and whenever they want me to run they’ll allow me to run.”
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JASON VEGA, Brockton native, on his approach
“I’m just trying to figure out what my position is here and work hard. I approach every day where I come in and go where I’m told to go.
(On being signed by his local team)
“It’s nice to be here, it’s the NFL and I’m just happy to have the opportunity.”
(Toughest adjustment in the CFL)
“The weather was a big factor because it was Winnipeg and up until a couple of days ago it was still snowing, but other than that it’s the game of football. It’s all the same.”
(High point of career at Brockton High)
Probably winning that Super Bowl (in 2004). But that’s all in the past. It’s nice to have memories and have the pictures in my room but I’m focused on now.
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AARON DOBSON on following fellow Marshall alums Troy Brown and Randy Moss
“I’m here to make my own mark, make my own name.”
(When it dawned on him he was in the NFL)
“When I got fitted for my helmet yesterday, that’s when I got really excited realizing I was putting on the Patriots helmet.”
(On when he first dunked)
(On meeting the rest of the draftees)
“Great guys. Only been with them for a day, but we got close. It’s exciting just to get the call and figure out where I’ll be. Then you see the names and say, ‘OK, these are my teammates.’ I watched the rest of the draft then went online, looked at the rest of the roster, the rest of the receivers.
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BILL BELICHICK on the goals for the three-day minicamp
“Obviously we have a lot of information to give them in every area, not just football, but the whole transition in becoming a professional athlete and in most cases for these guys, relocating to a part of the country they’re not too familiar with. We have a lot of ground to cover but I think it’s a group that so far seems attentive and eager. Like a lot of groups at this time of year, this group of guys is a similar group to many that we’ve had in the past. We’ll take it day by day and one step at a time with a lot of ground to cover and hopefully we can catch them up as soon as possible so they can compete with some of the other guys that are on our team as we move into the spring and eventually get ready for training camp.”
(Ever deal with homesickness on the part of players)
Sure. That’s all part of the relocation system. Every guy’s situation is different. I don’t think there’s any set book on it. Some guys come by themselves, some guys come with somebody else -- a wife, a partner or it could be a family member. Everybody has their own situation and most of them are not from here. We didn’t draft, most of these guys are from areas other than in New England, probably 90 percent of them. Yeah, there are all the elements of relocation -- there’s housing, transportation, there’s all the basic services that we all need. There are friends, there’s family, all those connections. I’d say each one is different.”