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Wednesday, March 19, 2014
LaFell: Tom Brady's presence a clincher

By Mike Reiss

Wide receiver Brandon LaFell, who signed a three-year, $9 million contract with the New England Patriots, held a conference call with reporters Wednesday.

After reporters had finished asking questions, LaFell asked if he could say one additional thing.

At that point, he thanked reporters for their time, then mentioned owner Robert Kraft and the rest of the organization, and how appreciative he was of them taking a chance on him when they could have signed anyone else.

“I am going to give everything I got,” he said.

A few other takeaways from LaFell’s conference call:

Brandon LaFell
Receiver Brandon LaFell had 49 receptions, including five for touchdowns, last season with Carolina.
Why he signed with the Patriots: LaFell said getting the ball more, winning, and the chance to play with a Hall of Fame quarterback were primary factors in his decision to come to New England. His former club, the Panthers, was also a winning team, but LaFell said the draw of Tom Brady was significant. “One day Cam [Newton] will be there, probably, but he’s not there now,” LaFell said of Hall of Fame status. “I feel like it was a better chance to come up here and get more balls and win than it was in Carolina. Nothing against those guys. It’s a great organization and those guys are going to win, but it’s proven up here, man. We were winning last year in Carolina. These guys were winning up here the last 10-plus years. So why not come to a winning organization?”

More on Brady: LaFell told reporters that when the team was watching film of the Patriots last year in advance of a Nov. 18 game, Brady’s accuracy was hard to miss. “No matter what route they ran, no matter how the guy was on him, they just put their hands out and the ball was always in the perfect placement,” he said. “When you have a guy who can pinpoint the ball like he does, it’s great.” LaFell said he has yet to speak with Brady, as Brady has been out of the country and they’ve exchanged text messages.

Reflecting on last year’s game vs. Patriots: LaFell agreed with the outside opinion that his performance against the Patriots last year was one of his best. Asked to reflect on that effort, he shared some of the Panthers’ mindset that night, and how they focused on attacking any Patriots cornerback outside of Aqib Talib.

Ridley’s excitement shines through: LaFell’s former teammate at Louisiana State, running back Stevan Ridley, was surprised to initially learn that LaFell was coming to town. LaFell then relayed what Ridley said: “He was like, ‘Bro, we have a bunch of young guys that play a lot of good ball, but we need another veteran that will step in and help those young guys grow. You can be one of those [final] pieces for us in taking this thing to the next level. I’ll tell you, just like I tell anybody else, you have to come up here and be able to sacrifice your off-the-field life for the things you have to do -- put in extra time in film and extra work after practice.’ He kept saying the word sacrifice. And hard work. He said if you’re committed to do that with the rest of those guys, you’ll fit in and help us win games.”

Picking jersey No. 19: LaFell, who wore No. 11 in Carolina, was deciding between jersey numbers 10 and 19 with the Patriots (Julian Edelman wears No. 11). He went with No. 19. “When I think of No. 10, I think of quarterbacks -- I thought about Vince Young, I thought about RG III. So I didn’t want to be in that mind frame of a quarterback. Me and my boy Ted Ginn are real good friends, and I decided to wear the 19 like he does.”