Patriots' Cassel wants to concentrate on football

December, 18, 2008
12/18/08
4:19
PM ET
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Graham
Cassel

New England Patriots quarterback Matt Cassel engaged in a Q&A session with reporters for the first time since his father's death last week.

Cassel, who threw a career-high four touchdown passes in a lopsided victory over the Oakland Raiders, asked questioned be limited to football.

Here is a portion of Cassel's news conference as reported by the Boston Globe. Click here for the full transcript.

Cassel: I'm just going to start by saying, as it relates to the last week, when it comes to my personal life and everything I'd rather answer questions about football today. If we could stick to football questions, I'd appreciate it and thank you very much for being so respectful over the last week or so. With that being said, shoot away.

This might be sort of borderline so why don't you lead the way on this. Football-wise did you ever think about not playing in the game?
MC:
No, I always felt like I was going to play. I took some time away last week and then came back and was able to get enough preparation in to go out there and play. I think that's what my father would have wanted.

Did it help you being around your teammates, being in your job?
MC:
It was a good distraction last week. There's no doubt. Being around my teammates and having this secondary support factor with a family away from home definitely helped.

Where does that win rate on the satisfaction scale?
MC:
It was a big win. It was a big win for the team. It was a big win for me personally, and it's always good to go out there and win each and every week.

Through the different challenges you've faced this year, whether they were professional or personal, what have you learned about yourself?
MC:
I've overcome a lot of adversity and I think it's [taught me] to keep pushing forward and keep moving on and don't listen to people who are negative and work against you. Just continue to surround yourself with people that are positive and can help you, and things will turn around for you.

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