- Mike Reiss, ESPN Staff Writer
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WORCESTER, Mass. – Patriots safety Steve Gregory said his reaction to the team’s AFC Championship Game loss to the Ravens was similar to what a fan’s might have been.
There was bitter disappointment. It was a long two weeks leading up to the Super Bowl.
But now it’s time to look ahead.
“Obviously, after a loss like we suffered, it’s hard for a while, especially going up to the Super Bowl,” Gregory said Thursday during a visit to the UMass Memorial Children’s Medical Center. “Once the Super Bowl is over, now we’ve moved on. We’re on to next year, next season, getting ready to get into the offseason and get that going, building for next year. Our main focus is to learn from our experiences that we had last year and then move on to 2013 and try to win a championship.”
Gregory, who joined the Patriots last offseason and emerged as a starter, said he watched the Super Bowl even though “it’s not always easy to do.” He credited the Ravens while noting “they earned everything they got this year.”
As he looks ahead to 2013, Gregory said his approach is the same it has been through the first seven years of his career – he has to win a job. He plans to be based in Massachusetts this offseason, working in the team’s offseason program. That will represent a chance to develop further chemistry with Devin McCourty, who seemed to blossom at safety when moved there six weeks into the season.
“Playing with Devin was great,” said Gregory, who made the same switch earlier in his career – cornerback to safety. “He’s a great communicator. The more games we played together, the better we got and built up that chemistry. I think chemistry is huge in this game.”
Like others, Gregory has seen tight end Rob Gronkowski generate headlines this offseason, although he was reluctant to address that topic.
“I’ve seen it [but] that’s something to talk to Gronk about,” he said. “He’s an awesome dude, a great teammate, a great guy to be around, and he loves to have a good time.”
Gregory was clearly enjoying himself Thursday, visiting children at the UMass Memorial Children’s Medical Center.
“It puts things in perspective a little bit. Some of the things that these kids are going through, the hardships that they have, it’s not always easy for them. To be able to come in here, put some smiles on their faces and lighten up their day a little bit, it’s rewarding,” he said. “Sometimes as an athlete, you get lost in it a little bit; you forget how much people look up to you and how much people appreciate what you’re doing.”
It was Gregory’s first time in Worcester (he made the trip with his wife Rosanne), and he spoke in general about his strong feelings about New England.
“We drove all the way up here from Foxborough and I didn’t know where I was going. It’s great,” he said. “The people of Massachusetts, this whole community, is really amazing. Coming from New York City, people don’t necessarily always talk great about Boston sports and all that stuff, but I’ve really grown to love it up here, I’ve grown to love the people, the sports atmosphere and the community.”