Thursday, April 19, 2012
Gregory brings NYC flavor to town
By Mike Rodak
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Patriots safety Steve Gregory may have played the last six seasons across the country in San Diego, but there was no mistaking that one of the latest additions to the Patriots is a native New Yorker.
Gregory spoke to reporters at Gillette Stadium on Thursday, the Patriots fourth day of their offseason program, and his thick Brooklyn accent was hard to miss.
Even with his thick Brooklyn accent, safety Steve Gregory declared at Gillette Stadium: "I'm a New England Patriot fan."
Attending high school on Staten Island, Gregory played football at Syracuse. His father and stepmother are retired New York City police officers. Does this mean Gregory was a Jets fan growing up?
"Yeah, I wasn't really a fan of any team in particular. I followed players more, but a bunch of my buddies had Jets season tickets. We used to go to games a lot," Gregory said. "Wasn't really a fan of a team. I'm a New England Patriot fan."
Gregory played baseball in high school as a shortstop and centerfielder, and had tryouts with the Mets and Yankees, but wasn't willing to reveal an allegiance to any baseball team on Thursday, having just begun his career in Red Sox country.
"Nah, I don't follow baseball," Gregory said with a smile when asked if he was a Yankees fan. Another reporter followed up, asking if Gregory's answer would be the same if he was playing in New York.
"Absolutely," he said.
The 5-foot-11, 195-pound Gregory signed a three-year deal with New England on March 15, averaging $2-3 million per season. Gregory's positional versatility is considered part of his value to the Patriots.
"I've played both safeties. I've played the nickel slot. I played four years of corner in college," Gregory said. "So I'm pretty versatile when it comes to any position in the secondary. I can play them all."
Gregory noted that he earned a roster spot as an undrafted free agent in San Diego by playing on special teams to begin his career. Last season, one line of thinking was that Gregory played out of position as an in-the-box safety, allowing Pro Bowl safety Eric Weddle to cover the deep part of the field.
"People say that. I think I can play both. I think I do a good job down in the box," Gregory explained. "I think my more natural position is probably roaming around, playing pass game, things like that. You typically want a bigger guy in the box. But I can do it, I did it well, and I had fun doing it."