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Football journey: Jarrad Page

1/1/2011

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Safety Jarrad Page is still getting accustomed to life as a New England Patriot. After spending the first four years of his career with the Kansas City Chiefs, he was traded to the Patriots on Sept. 5.

Page has been active for the Patriots’ first two games, playing primarily on special teams. When he has taken the field on defense, it’s been as a seventh defensive back or to defend a two-point conversion, so he’s played just seven defensive snaps this season.

The 25-year-old Page had a tough decision to make early in his career -- football or baseball? He was a fifth-round draft choice of the Milwaukee Brewers in 2002, a 32nd-round draft choice of the Colorado Rockies in 2005 and a seventh-round draft choice of the Los Angeles Angels in 2006.

Page shares his football journey with ESPNBoston.com:

When he first started playing football: “When I was young, I just played basketball and baseball. In the eighth grade, I started playing tackle football for our Pop Warner team. Our Pop Warner team was good, the San Leandro Crusaders, we went undefeated my first year playing and won the championship. When I went to high school for my freshman year, I wasn’t 15 yet and you have to be 15 to play varsity, so I went and played for my Pop Warner team again because I was young enough. In 10th, 11th and 12th, I played varsity at San Leandro High School.”

First positions in football: “Running back and outside linebacker. I switched to corner in high school, safety a little bit. I also moved around a lot on offense.”

Top memories of high school: “It was all pretty fun. I couldn’t pick a highest point, but the lowest point is easy -- we lost three games in my three years on varsity and they were all to De La Salle in the Northern California Championship. Everything besides that was a great moment. We just couldn’t get that championship.”

Memories from his college experience at UCLA: “My top memory was a game against Stanford up at Palo Alto. We were losing 24-3 with 7 minutes left to go in the game. We still believed we can win, but others thought it was over. Without a turnover, and without an onside kick, we came back and tied the game and then won it in overtime, 30-24. I’ve never had a feeling that before. It was the best feeling I ever had in sports.”

Entering the NFL as a late-round pick of the Kansas City Chiefs: “At that point, I had a decision to make. When I went in the seventh round, obviously I was disappointed with that. I knew I could play baseball too and I had been drafted in the seventh round by the Angels too. I had to decide if I wanted to go to the NFL, where I was drafted in the last round, or go play baseball where I was a very high pick. I decided to try football out for the year to see how it went, because baseball season didn’t come around until the next year. I went to training camp, started making plays and picking off balls, and they were talking about starting me and playing me a lot. The rest is history. I started four games that year, had four interceptions, and intercepted Peyton Manning in the playoffs.”

Playing baseball at UCLA: “I came in as a two-sport athlete. I didn’t do in baseball at UCLA as I wanted to. One thing I learned is that baseball is a tough sport to split time with. If you’re going to do it, it’s something you have to put the full work in. In the summer, I was going to football practice and couldn’t play baseball, so I would literally come into baseball season with less than a month to get ready for the season to start. Typically, I started slow, then I would pick it up towards the end of the year. That was kind of frustrating.”

On picking football: “I had to make that decision twice because I decided to go to college instead of signing with Milwaukee. It’s stuff that I think about it. I see the guys that were in my [baseball] draft class -- Prince Fielder; I see Lastings Milledge, Delmon Young, and I think about it a lot. But I’m happy playing football. I love both of the sports, so I couldn’t go wrong.”

Summing up four years with the Chiefs: “I had a great experience there. They have great fans out there. Unfortunately the last few years we hit some tough breaks, but we made it to the playoffs my rookie year. I’m glad I got a taste of that. You don’t want the only thing you know to be losing, and I’m hungry for that again. I just feel like I learned a lot about the game over those years.”

What he’s learned about the Patriots in his brief time with the team: “I’ve played the Patriots before, so when you’re out here you’re not surprised by Randy Moss’s speed or his hands. You’ve seen all that stuff before. What you get to see is a behind-the-scenes look. These guys aren’t just winning for no reason. They’re here all day, they’re in their [play]books, smart football players, they know what’s going on and other teams’ offenses. They aren’t just studying the opponent, but also the game, situations, what people want to do. That’s the thing I was impressed with when I got here. You can not ask for anything better than playing with other guys who are smart.”

Looking to the future: “I want to see things head to the Super Bowl. After that, who knows? That’s the pinnacle. I know some of these guys have been there, but I sure haven’t. I know they are hungry to do it again and I’m hungry to get there for the first time. First things first, we have to win this week and get back on track the way we know how to do them.”