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Sunday, October 9, 2011
Redemption for safety Ihedigbo

By Mike Reiss

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Sunday couldn't have been much sweeter for Patriots safety James Ihedigbo, the former New York Jet who made his first career NFL start.

After the team's 30-21 win, Ihedigbo first focused on the overall accomplishment of beating the Jets, which he called "a great team win" that "puts us ahead division-wise against them."

Then he touched on what the day meant to him personally.

"You couldn't ask for a better way, for a team that let you go, to come back and kind of stick it to them," he said.

Ihedigbo, who played for the Jets from 2008-2010 but wasn't re-signed this year, was a surprise starter Sunday. With Josh Barrett out with a hamstring injury and Sergio Brown struggling last week in Oakland, it was Ihedigbo's chance to show what he could do.

"It was great. I felt comfortable," he said, adding that a late-game stinger he sustained wasn't anything serious. "I've been playing in this league for a while, played in a lot of big games, and this is just another one. An opportunity to start, it was definitely a blessing."

To do so against his former team made it even better.

"It's necessarily not anything personal against anybody individually, but just as the whole organization, and being a part of something and them kind of feeling you're not good enough to be a part of it anymore -- and then coming to a team like this, where we have the makings to be something very special ... it's a great feeling," he said.

Ihedigbo, who grew up in Amherst, Mass. and played in college at UMass, learned that he'd be starting Sunday morning. He finished with six tackles (four solo).

"We get equal reps during practice," he said. "We have a very, very good secondary, we just have to play to the level of the talent that we have. When I found out this morning that I was going to get the start, first NFL start, you have to make the best of it."