- Mike Reiss, ESPN Staff Writer
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PHOENIX -- With Patriots coach Bill Belichick answering questions from reporters Tuesday for the first time this offseason, it was a chance to touch on a variety of topics, such as the unusual turn of events this offseason that had the team signing two players from the Canadian Football League -- defensive linemen Armond Armstead and Jason Vega.
The question: Was it a coincidence?
"’We monitor all the players, all the leagues in our focus. People do a good job of that [and there have been players] in the league, the Steve Neals of the world who never played football, that come from different backgrounds," Belichick answered.
"Vega’s a local kid. We had some background on him. He came out of Northeastern. Armstead is no secret. He was on everybody’s draft board one way or another. Obviously, he wasn’t drafted because of his medical condition. We feel comfortable about his situation; comfortable enough to sign him. It’s not because he was in Canada, or not in Canada.
"We try to evaluate players as individuals, what he brings individually to the table. Whether we can fit him onto the team in a role or in a competitive situation we think will be good for him.’’
Along those lines, another question posted to Belichick was where Armstead -- who Toronto Argonauts general manager Jim Barker had listed at 6-foot-5 and 280 pounds last season -- might fit in the Patriots' defensive scheme.
Belichick was asked if he views Armstead as more of a between-the-tackles player, or if Armstead might have the athleticism to play more in space in an end/linebacker type role.
‘’He played both [so] we'll see," Belichick said. "We’ll put him out there. I’m sure we’ll use him in different spots as we go through out practice and [organized team activities] and see how it goes.’’