Saturday, November 14, 2009
Football journey: Kyle Arrington
By Mike Reiss
On Saturdays throughout the season, the plan will be to highlight one Patriots player's football journey. This week, it is cornerback Kyle Arrington.
Arrington was promoted from the Patriots' practice squad Nov. 7 after the Cleveland Browns attempted to sign him to their active roster. He made his Patriots' debut against the Dolphins on Nov. 8 and led the squad with two special teams tackles.
On where his journey started: "I was about 12 and started playing [Maryland] Little League. Normally we'd play basketball outside or just hang out, but I noticed no one was there that day. I said to myself: 'Where did everyone go?' It turned out all my friends were signing up to play football and I didn't want to be the only kid on the block not doing it. So I signed up as well."
What positions he played and NFL teams and players he followed: "My first year I played offensive line and defensive line, but I didn't get into football until my second year when I played running back and outside linebacker. I wore Terrell Davis's number, 30, because I grew up watching the Broncos, the "Mile High Salute" and all that. They were on TV on all the prime-time games. After that, I wore 28 with respect to Warrick Dunn. I liked him as a player as well, and my first year in the NFL, I ended up with Tampa Bay and got a chance to play with Warrick Dunn. That was exciting."
What he likes about football: "It's one of the rare sports where it's all about physical tenacity. Especially defense, it's all about manning up. I just like hitting people. You also have to be smart and study concepts of offenses and game film, and I like that aspect of the game."
When he moved to cornerback: "Everyone came into high school playing running back, so I kind of got weeded out. My sophomore year, I ended up playing defense more, safety and corner. Junior year, I got hurt, dislocating my shoulder. Then senior year, I buckled down because I knew I wanted to play in college. I was shooting for that scholarship. I focused on just corner, got my weight up, and the rest is history."
Earning a full scholarship from Hofstra and his best college memories: "I had D-II offers but I really wanted to play I-A, and if not I-AA. Hofstra was the only I-A/I-AA school to offer, and I appreciated it. We had a lot of fun times, just the camaraderie, the friendships you make. The game that stands out would be Towson. If you YouTube me, that might be the first thing you see. I had a pretty big hit on a receiver."
On when he knew the NFL was a possibility: "I kind of felt like I wanted to pursue football when I got to Hofstra freshman year, and then I thought I was getting better and better each year. But I really didn't feel it was a possibility until senior year when scouts were coming. This wasn't Miami or anything, where there were 30 scouts a day for players, but a scout here or there would come to check me out. It really felt within the realm of possibility at that point."
On spending time with the Eagles, Buccaneers and now the Patriots: "The Eagles, it was a brief stint there -- OTAs [organized team activities] and training camp. I appreciated the opportunity as they gave me my start [in 2008]. I was making some plays initially, going at it with DeSean [Jackson]. I thought they liked me. Preseason came along and to be honest, I didn't make the plays I was making in practice. As a free agent, you have to stand out to be there and I didn't. Tampa picked me up and I was on the practice squad the whole year. I felt like I was an injury away from playing. Raheem [Morris] being a Hofstra guy was an interesting coincidence."
On joining the Patriots practice squad, then receiving interest from the Browns, before being promoted to the Patriots active roster: "For me and my agent, the motivation is all about playing. Don't get me wrong, I'm a loyal guy, probably one of the most loyal guys you'll meet, so any team that gives me opportunity I'm going to stick with them. The Patriots offered to pay me a 53-man salary [on the practice squad] and I wanted to, but Cleveland offered a workout bonus and roster bonus [on their 53-man roster]. What it really came down to was me playing. In the end, the Patriots moved me up and I had to stay here."
On his thoughts about his post-football journey: "I grew up behind and in front of the camera. My father [Kelvin] is a videographer. He would take me, at a young age, to wedding shoots. He shot plays and events like that. I like working with the camera. So maybe start off with broadcasting, but the ultimate goal is to act."