The Patriots introduced top draft choice Patrick Chung at Gillette Stadium today. I have a feeling we’re going to like this guy.
New England Patriots Chairman and CEO Robert Kraft Remarks At In Stadium Jersey Presentation:
RKK: Welcome everyone. We are thinking the last time we came up here and [were] not on the field was when we had Richard Seymour. We believe we did that here, so it brought back a positive memory. It’s interesting to us that this is the beginning of the 50th season of the Boston/ New England Patriots. Patrick [Chung] got a kick out of our logo that we had before . [The logo that] we started out as. It’s always exciting for us to have the first person that we’ve had in the draft come, and Jonathan [Kraft] and I present him with his new shirt. So think, 16 years ago was Willie McGinest and he’s still playing in the league, we believe, or at least he hopes to. We hope the same happens for our first pick in the draft this year, Patrick Chung. We’re very excited to have him with us. I know our folks did a lot of homework and were hoping that he would be available when we picked. We’re very impressed with his background. He’s actually, I think, the first player on the team of partial Chinese heritage as well as Jamaican. We understand that his mom was a great Reggae singer and had hits at the top of the charts, and we know that Patrick will be known for other kinds of hits. So it’s a great pleasure for us to welcome you here to New England and we would like to present you with your shirt.
NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS FIRST DRAFT PICK PATRICK CHUNG PRESS CONFERENCE
PC: How are you all doing? Man, this is crazy right now. I’m glad to be here. I’m ready to go to work. I’ve been ready to go to work since I got that call on draft day. It’s go time.
Q: What are your impressions so far, now that you’ve gotten to walk around and have met everyone?
PC: I love it. I love the mood. You can tell it’s a big sports town. And the Patriots are a very good football team and they have been for numerous years, so I’m blessed to be on this team. I’m going to try to make the best impact I can.
Q: Do you feel any pressure being the team’s top pick?
PC: I know it’s a lot of responsibility – not pressure. I mean, you just have to come in and play and bring your A game every time. I’m going to do whatever Coach Belichick asks me. I am ready. I’m ready to go, ready to put some pads on.
Q: You are known as a leader and a hard hitter, which are good qualities. For you, what will be the biggest transition to the NFL?
PC: The biggest transition is that you have to be smart. Everybody is good on the field and you have to get your edge in the film room. [If] you study the film day in and day out, nighttime and morning, you will eventually get an edge on the players you’re playing against and that’s going to make the game easier. My philosophy is go hard in practice, super hard, until you can’t walk. It makes the game so much easier, so it’s all hard work. [I will] work on every aspect of my game and hopefully it works out for the best.
Q: Did you talk to [Oregon] Coach [Chip] Kelly about what to expect in New England?
PC: No. I haven’t yet, but I’m looking forward to that talk.
Q: What was your family’s reaction when you were drafted out here?
PC: They are happy. It’s a long flight, but they are happy. They’re happy regardless of where I went. Like I said, this is a great program. Mr. Kraft did a lot for this program along with Coach Belichick and the rest of the coaching staff. Man, it’s just a blessing right now. I’m honored. It’s a dream come true.
Q: Have you had a chance to talk to any of the fellow rookies or any of the other guys on the team?
PC: I talked to Darius Butler. He’s actually my roommate in the hotel. He’s not here yet, but I talked to him and we’re ready to go. We’ve been ready since Senior Bowl. I met him at the Senior Bowl and we’re ready to get things going. I’m ready to be a Patriot.
Q: Does going to the Senior Bowl help you meet other players? I know Ron Brace was down there too.
PC: I didn’t really get a chance to talk to Ron Brace too much. I know Darius Butler and Tyrone McKenzie. Those two guys I know the most from Senior Bowl. I know those guys are high energy, intense, passionate guys, so I know they’ll be good [teammates].
Q: Some of your attributes sound like Rodney Harrison’s. You have a long way to go, but do you see yourself as that type of player?
PC: Everybody is their own player. Mr. Harrison is his own player. I’m my own player. Brandon Meriweather is his own player. James Sanders is his own player. It’s just what you bring to the table, what you mean to the team, and what’s best suited for the scheme and for the defense [to] make the defense better. I will do whatever Coach asks me to, regardless of what it is.
Q: You mentioned that this was a dream come true for you. When did you start dreaming about the NFL and when realize it was actually possible for you?
PC: I was born in Jamaica, so I didn’t know football. I was all soccer. And then I tried out, first time playing football, freshman year of high school. My main concern was, ‘I just want to go to college. I just want to go to college.’ I got into college and I’m playing pretty good. I’m playing pretty good the next year, and then, ‘Oh man, maybe I can get to the next level.’ And it just hit me and that’s when I started going hard. I started thinking [that] I could start taking care of my family. My mom and dad sacrificed for me, and it’s time for me to return the favor and have them be proud to have their son graduate and be at the next level.
Q: Have you thought about what it’s going to be like to try to fit in with this defense. There are a lot of veterans that are already here and are established?
PC: I think it will be good – learning from some of the best. Hopefully they will teach me a lot of things and help me out with the process and help me develop myself into the player that I think I can be. It’s going to be show time.
Q: Do you know how the NFL game plans are going to compare to college?
PC: Oh yeah. It’s way more complex. Our defense was a lot more complex than other college defenses, so I think I have a little upper hand, but I know it’s complex. The NFL is a whole different ball game. You have to come prepared.
Q: Have you already gone through graduation and ceremonies?
PC: Yeah. I’m graduated, walked and ready to go.
Q: Was that just last week?
PC: No. I graduated in December. I walked last April, so I’m ready.
Q: Last year’s first pick, Jerod Mayo, won the Defensive Rookie of the Year. How do you follow that up?
PC: I’m going to do the best I can. He’s a great player and he deserved everything he got. I’m going to go hard and hopefully it works out. I’m just going to do the best I can and see where it goes from there.
Q: Do you think you can step in and contribute right away?
PC: That’s the goal I have. Like I said, it’s all hard work. I’m going to work hard every day: weight room, film room, practice field, everything. Hopefully I get the chance to get on the field and make an impact. Hopefully Coach gives me an opportunity and if I do, I’ll be prepared for it and I’ll take full advantage.
Q: What would it mean if you had the opportunity to get mentored by someone like Rodney Harrison?
PC: He is one of the best. He can teach me everything he’s learned over his - I don’t know how long he’s been playing for, it’s in the teens. It would be a great honor for him to teach me everything he knows. When you learn from the best and you are practicing how the best have practiced, you have no choice but to become a leader and be the best player out there.
Q: When you look at some of the scouting reports and the criticism, is there anything that you want to do to prove them wrong?
PC: We’ll see. There’re a lot of critics out there. I’m going to work. I’m going to work my hardest to [reach my] potential [so] that I have no critics at all. I’m just going to be working my hardest to get to my full potential.
Q: [On hitting hard]
PC: You can strike fear into people. You can change a player’s perspective on the game, but you have to know when to hit also. I’m just not a big hitter. You have to know when to hit, when to break down, tackle and bring him down, and you have to know when to take your big hits. I’m a smart tackler. But it could change the game – one hit could change the game. It could change the whole offense.