Homecoming for safety Ihedigbo

August, 20, 2011
8/20/11
3:43
PM ET
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Safety James Ihedigbo spoke with reporters following Saturday's walkthrough practice at Gillette Stadium, one day after signing with the team. It is a homecoming for Ihedigbo, who attended Amherst (Mass.) Regional High School and played college football at UMass.

On returning home to Massachusetts. "It's exciting. It's a childhood dream to come back and play for the same team you grew up watching. I'm just excited for the opportunity. ...I was born and raised a Pats fan. I watched the games when I was in high school, at the old Foxboro Stadium, and said 'one day I'm going to be playing here.' Lo and behold, here I am."

Former Patriots safety as role model. "I definitely model my game after Rodney Harrison. Physical player, knew what he was supposed to do at all times, was a leader, and played the game very physically."

Re-joining former Jets teammate Shaun Ellis. "He's a great guy. Great teammate. Kind of mentor for me at the old place I was playing at, and he's been the same way here. He's a good friend."

Fitting in with the Patriots. "Wherever they need me to play, I'm just going to go out and bring my intensity, my energy. The way this game is designed to be played is to be fast and physical... being able to get off blocks, get to the ball. I want to bring whatever I can to help this team."

Here's what Bill Belichick had to say about Ihedigbo: "He's played defense, he’s played safety, he’s played there for the Jets -- he played some of the nickel and dime type responsibilities on defense, and he's been good in the kicking game. We’ll see what he can do."

Mike Rodak

ESPN Buffalo Bills reporter

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