Catching up with newest Patriot

December, 16, 2010
12/16/10
6:00
AM ET
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- At 6-foot-4 and 325 pounds, free-agent defensive lineman Louis Leonard adds depth at a time when the Patriots have had a run of injuries along the defensive front.

Leonard, who played at Fresno State and will wear No. 66, caught up with reporters on his first day in the locker room.

The Q&A:

What are your thoughts on joining the Patriots?
"It's a good program, one they talk about all over the NFL. I'm just happy to get the opportunity and help out the team."

Is it easy to walk into a locker room like this?
"As soon as I walked in ... some teams you go to, the guys might not want to talk to you. They might be worrying about who the new guy is. I have a few ex-college teammates here [Logan Mankins, Ryan Wendell] and the guys on the team have been trying to introduce themselves. Just being here for the little time I've been here, you can tell the togetherness is there. That's a good thing."

What it will be like going up against Mankins again in practice.
"I thought I was done with that [laughing]. Logan is an excellent player and he's been like that since college. I'm just thankful to be here with my college boys and to be with this organization."

What systems he played in since entering the NFL as a rookie free agent with the Chargers
"I've been in the NFL four years and I just about went through all of them, I guess. I just came from the 4-3. I did the 3-4 in Cleveland. I've been through both and being here, I'm just trying to figure out what I'm here for, to help the team. I'm happy to get the opportunity."

What he's been doing this year after getting let go by the Panthers
"I had an ankle injury last year and it was giving me problems in camp and that sort of thing. I was able to sit back, get treatment, and get off my feet. That helped tremendously. I'm feeling real good and basically just trying to maintain football shape. You can never get into football shape without playing football. I tried to maintain it and get some rest."

Mike Reiss

ESPN New England Patriots reporter

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