WORCESTER, Mass. -- Last season, New England Patriots defensive lineman and 2009 second-round pick Ron Brace was active for a career-low seven games and was a healthy scratch for Super Bowl XLVI.
Speaking to reporters prior to an appearance at his alma mater Burncoat High School in Worcester on Wednesday evening, Brace said that he is working to get on the field more this season.
"Just basically get on the field and produce more," Brace said. "Just try to be out there. Everybody wants to produce and help the team out in some way, shape, form or fashion. Just any way I can, I just want to get myself ready in any way, shape, form or fashion they want me to."
As for whether he has produced enough in his first three seasons in New England, Brace said he feels like he has made contributions, even without being active for the majority of games last season.
"If I've been practicing, practicing against offensive linemen. If I wasn't playing, I was on scout team practicing against them," Brace said. "So if I couldn't get to play in the game, I would help our offensive linemen out and try to give them the best look I possibly could. I would definitely say that being a part of the team, I've done my efforts in trying to help them doing what I felt was best for the team. I put the team first. I never put myself before the team."
During his Q&A with student-athletes, families and coaches at Burncoat's athletics awards ceremony, Brace defended himself against media criticism, and later gave the student-athletes advice on how to deal with adversity.
"Calm down, don't worry about it, focus on it," Brace said. "That's how I've been able to do a lot of things in my home state on a team that a lot of people said I should have been gone off of about two years ago. Anything is possible."
Brace enters the final season of his four-year rookie contract, but said that will not be a distraction as he prepares for the upcoming season.
"I really don't even pay attention to the contracts. That's what I have agents for. I worry about the football aspect," he said. "I forget to pick up pay checks, that's how much I don't even pay attention to that part. People get paid to do that. I'm just there to play football, and I want to play and produce and help this defense."