On Saturdays throughout the season, the plan will be to highlight one Patriots player's football journey. This week, it is rookie safety Bret Lockett.
Lockett was claimed off waivers from the Browns in early September and has worked his way into a role as a core special teams player. He has appeared in six games and has totaled four special teams tackles.
On when he first started playing football: "I was 9 years old, Pop Warner, and I started off at running back and linebacker. Growing up in Diamond Bar, California, I had actually played soccer for almost six years. Then I found out there was football and they are both in the same season. So I kind of threw soccer to the side after my first year of football. I've been playing ever since."
On what teams he rooted for and players he liked: "My family is full of Cowboys fans. So I grew up a Troy Aikman fan, he's a UCLA guy. Emmitt Smith. Deion Sanders. On other teams, Dan Marino and Terrell Owens, guys like that. I mainly watched running backs, Terrell Davis and guys like that."
When he switched to defense: "I played running back my freshman year of high school and got brought up to varsity my freshman year. That's when I got moved to safety and receiver. I actually thought I was going to college as a receiver, but when I went to UCLA they moved me to safety."
Why UCLA was the choice for him: "My mom went to USC. My whole family kind of went to USC, so my mom was kind of pushing me there. They recruited me for a while but it didn't pan out. I had offers from Oregon State and Arizona. I kind of wanted to leave home, get away from the parents, but I'm a California guy. At UCLA, I played with a good program and got a great education [political science major], so you can't go wrong."
Best football memory at UCLA: "The year we beat USC and knocked them out of going to the national championship."
Entering the NFL as a free agent with the Browns: "I had talked with the Saints. Indianapolis had called me the week before the draft. The Texans called me. I thought the Packers liked me, so those were the guys I was waiting for on draft day. I sat there and waited and when you don't hear your name called, you're going to be disappointed. But I kind of use it as motivation. I got a call from my agent who said 'You're going to the Packers for a tryout next week.' A day later, he called me and said 'We're switching it up, you're going to the Browns.' I went to the Browns the next weekend, their rookie camp, on a tryout basis. I went there on a mission, determined to do whatever it took. I think they saw that and they ended up signing me."
Transitioning from the Browns to the Patriots: "I thought I made the team because a lot of other players had been cut. I was lifting with the team, and one of the guys came in and said 'The GM wants to see you.' They told me they'd put me on the practice squad if nobody claims me [on waivers], and they'd hopefully move me up on the active roster soon. The next day, my agent calls me and says 'You're going to New England.' I was like 'Wow.' I didn't know how it worked. Three hours later, I was on the plane."
On his approach on the field: "I'm just excited every time I get out there. This is a dream come true just to be out there, and I've always been a worker. I just try to bring intensity and energy."
Past football journeys: