New England Patriots: Leigh Bodden

Bodden works through thumb injury

September, 9, 2011
Elsa/Getty ImagesLeigh Bodden said he's ready despite a thumb injury.
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- For three weeks, veteran cornerback Leigh Bodden kept a low profile around reporters. After injuring his right thumb in the second preseason game at Tampa Bay, he didn't play again, and only returned to practice this week.

Bodden answered questions from reporters Friday for the first time since the injury, wearing a white protective cast over his right thumb that extended to his wrist.

"I can do everything a football player needs to do to get ready for a football game," Bodden said when asked about how the injury affected his conditioning.

Bodden, the team's starter on the right side, got off to a strong start in training camp as he returned from a torn rotator cuff that sidelined him all of 2010. He was consistently around the ball and looked like he was returning to 2009-like form when he led the team with 17 passes defended.

How much did the injury set him back?

"Things like that happen, but all I can do is look forward and look to do what I have to do when I get on the field," he answered. "When I get on the field, I plan to be the player I am."

If Bodden returns to his 2009 form, the Patriots have the potential for one of the NFL's better 1-2 combinations with Bodden on the right side and budding star Devin McCourty (5-10, 193) on the left.

Until this year, the 6-foot-1, 193-pound Bodden stood out among his fellow cornerbacks as the biggest player of the group. But that has changed with the additions of rookie Ras-I Dowling (6-1, 198) and fourth-year player Antwaun Molden (6-1, 198).

"I guess that's what the coaches want -- big guys, physical guys," Bodden said. "Everybody's talented, everybody's talented in their own ways. We bring a lot to the table and we just have to continue to progress and put it out on the field Monday night."

Video: Bodden 'glad to be back'

July, 31, 2011

After missing all of last season with a shoulder injury, Leigh Bodden says he is rejuvenated and "glad to be back out here and at 100 percent."

Asked Sunday about playing in the defensive backfield with Devin McCourty, who had an excellent rookie season in Bodden's absence, Bodden said "We have a lot of good guys here, not only talentwise but on a personal level. It's going to be fun."

Bodden also praised new teammate Chad Ochocinco for reaching out to Bodden, asking Bodden to let him know if he sees any adjustments Ochocinco can make. "That's something you don't see every day from a receiver like that," Bodden said.

Leigh Bodden on season-ending IR

August, 31, 2010
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- In a blow to the New England Patriots secondary, the team placed starting right cornerback Leigh Bodden on season- ending injured reserve Tuesday.

Bodden, who tied for the team lead with five interceptions last season, has a torn rotator cuff, according to a source close to Bodden. Bodden had also been battling a knee injury earlier in training camp.

Shortly after the announcement, Bodden posted the following on his Twitter account: "Overwhelmed with the love from every1! Y'all kno imma bounce back I've been hitting bumps my whole career … & always seem to get past'm"

Bodden, who tied for the team lead with five interception last season, has a shoulder injury, the team announced. Bodden had also been battling a knee injury earlier in training camp.

The move is likely to thrust first-round draft choice Devin McCourty and 2009 second-round pick Darius Butler into starting roles.

In addition to Bodden, the Patriots placed defensive lineman Darryl Richard (foot) and safeties Bret Lockett (chest) and Josh Barrett (shoulder) on season-ending injured reserve.

The team also waived rookie cornerback Terrence Johnson.

The moves helped the Patriots get down to the league-mandated 75-man limit.

Source: Bodden gets 4-year deal with Pats

March, 9, 2010
The New England Patriots and Leigh Bodden have agreed to a four-year, $22 million deal to keep the team’s top cornerback in New England, a league source told ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter.

The deal includes $10 million in guaranteed money and $14 million over the first two years of the deal, the source told Schefter.

Patriots owner Robert Kraft confirmed an agreement had been reached during an interview on Boston sports radio station WEEI and Bodden’s agent, Alvin Keels, did as well via Twitter.

Schefter first reported the sides had an agreement on Monday night.

Kraft also confirmed during the radio interview the team had an agreement with free-agent linebacker Marques Murrell.

Murrell, whose primary contributions have come on special teams but who was known more for his pass-rushing skills at Appalachian State, has been with the Jets over the last three seasons. He has appeared in 26 regular-season games (0 starts).

More on this coming soon ...

Leigh Bodden agreement analysis

March, 8, 2010
Leigh Bodden thrived in the Patriots' system in 2009 as a fundamentally sound cornerback who was strong in run support and competitive in pass coverage (team-high 17 passes defended). He was one of the team's most consistent players on defense, his 82-percent playtime total ranking third among all defenders, while his toughness was exhibited as he played through injury.

Bodden's agreement in principle to stay with the Patriots, assuming there are no unexpected snags, is a win-win situation.

Bodden's preference was to remain in New England, but financial considerations also played a part in his decision. Having entered the NFL as a rookie free agent out of Duquesne, he had never received a big payday on the open market.

Now the sturdy Bodden (6-foot-1, 193 pounds) is in line to receive the largest contract of his seven-year career.

Meanwhile, the Patriots retain their best cornerback and a solid locker-room presence. Had Bodden signed elsewhere, the Patriots' need at the position would have been high, with second-year man Darius Butler, 14-year veteran Shawn Springs and third-year players Jonathan Wilhite and Terrence Wheatley topping the depth chart.

Keeping Bodden in the mix on the right side is a key piece, giving the Patriots the flexibility to address other needs.

Bodden shelves AFC East title hat

December, 27, 2009
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- The AFC East championship hat and T-shirt sat bound together by an elastic band on one of the shelves in Patriots cornerback Leigh Bodden's locker following Sunday's 35-7 triumph over the Jacksonville Jaguars that wrapped up the division crown for the Patriots.
[+] EnlargePats Hat
Mike ReissAn AFC East championship hat sits unworn in the Patriots' locker room after Sunday's game.

In his seventh year in the NFL, this will be Bodden's first trip to the playoffs. But he's got loftier goals than just making an appearance in the second season.

"We're in the playoffs now, this gives us an opportunity to get to the Super Bowl," said Bodden. "I'm definitely excited, but I'm not even going to put that hat on. I want that Super Bowl hat.

"I'm going to take [the AFC East championship hat] and enjoy it. But I'm looking forward to what else we can accomplish."

Bodden said the defense, which has given up just 27 points over this three-game winning streak, is playing with a lot of confidence as the playoffs near.

"We've always been confident, but it's pretty high right now," said Bodden. "To hold these guys to seven points, it's definitely something we wanted to do. Certainly, you want the shutout, but that's a good offense -- a good running game and a good passing attack. We're definitely excited, we've got a lot of confidence."

Recapping Jets game-ball winners

November, 25, 2009
Although the Patriots have put last Sunday's win over the Jets in the rear-view mirror and are now focused solely on the Saints, a look back at the game-ball winners:

Tully Banta-Cain -- In just 26 snaps, outside linebacker/defensive end plays through injury and totals five tackles (one for a loss), two sacks and a forced fumble.

Leigh Bodden -- Cornerback ties a Patriots record with three interceptions.

Mark LeVoir -- Offensive tackle comes off the bench in a pinch and delivers a crushing block on a receiver screen that highlights the physical edge with which the Patriots played.

Ty Warren -- Defensive end ties for the team high with six tackles, continuing to do the dirty work that is easy to overlook.

Wes Welker -- Receiver notches career highs with 15 receptions and 192 yards.

Bodden is Defensive Player of the Week

November, 25, 2009
Patriots cornerback Leigh Bodden has been named AFC Defensive Player of the Week for his three-interception performance against the Jets. This is Bodden's first time earning the honor.

The Patriots have had an impressive run this season in terms of Player of the Week honors.

Week 1: Tom Brady (offense)
Week 6: Tom Brady (offense)
Week 7: Brandon Meriweather (defense)
Week 9: Stephen Gostkowski (special teams)
Week 11: Leigh Bodden (defense)

Patriots defensive snap count

November, 23, 2009
A look at snaps played by Patriots defenders in the team’s 31-14 win over the Jets (as charted in the press box, small margin for error):

ILB Gary Guyton – 51 of 51 snaps
ILB Jerod Mayo – 51 of 51
S Brandon Meriweather – 51 of 51
CB Jonathan Wilhite – 51 of 51
CB Leigh Bodden – 50 of 51
S Brandon McGowan – 50 of 51
OLB/DE Adalius Thomas – 40 of 51
NT Vince Wilfork – 39 of 51
DE Mike Wright – 37 of 51
DE Ty Warren -- 34 of 52
OLB Tully Banta-Cain – 26 of 51
OLB Pierre Woods – 19 of 51
DE Derrick Burgess – 17 of 51
DT Myron Pryor – 17 of 51
CB Darius Butler – 12 of 51
S James Sanders – 9 of 51
S Pat Chung – 5 of 51
DT Ron Brace – 1 of 51
S Randy Moss – 1 of 51

(Two false start penalties included in snaps)

ANALYSIS: The base alignment was a 3-4, with the Patriots using a 3-2-6 dime (6 defensive backs) in most passing situations and occasionally a 4-2-5 nickel (5 defensive backs). … Butler and Chung were the fifth and sixth defensive backs in the sub package. … When Chung left the game with a head injury, he was replaced by Sanders. … Mayo and Guyton played every snap at inside linebacker, keeping Junior Seau on the sidelines for the third game in a row. … Including penalties, the 51 snaps were the third fewest the defense has played in a game this season (46, vs. Falcons, 49 vs. Titans). … Banta-Cain made the most of his playing time, finishing with five tackles and two sacks in just 26 snaps. … After seeing action solely on early downs, Thomas is playing again in sub packages as he’s had more of a chance to rush the passer in recent weeks. … Woods played on defense for the first time since Oct. 18 against Tennessee, starting at outside linebacker and working in a rotation. … This was the second time this season that Moss has been called upon as a safety in a Hail Mary situation.

Handing out three Patriots stars

November, 23, 2009
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Awarding three stars to top performers in the Patriots' 31-14 win over the Jets:

No. 1 star: Wes Welker -- Receiver just might be Patriots' most valuable player, totaling a career-high 15 receptions for 192 yards.

No. 2 star: Tully Banta-Cain -- Outside linebacker doesn't start but makes the most of his playing time with two sacks, five tackles, a tackle for a loss and a forced fumble.

No. 3 star: Leigh Bodden -- Cornerback intercepts three errant Mark Sanchez passes and returns one for a touchdown, as he is the beneficiary of some erratic quarterback play.

And at the opposite end of the spectrum:

No. 1: Punt team -- Blocked punt recovered for a touchdown -- which could have been the result of being without personal protector Sam Aiken -- is one of the downers. [Updated 11:50 a.m. -- Belichick said the personal protectors, Pat Chung and Julian Edelman, got the job done.]

No. 2: Jonathan Wilhite -- Cornerback is in coverage on a 29-yard touchdown hookup from Sanchez to Jerricho Cotchery.

No. 3: Bret Lockett -- Safety is called for two penalties on special teams, an illegal blindside block (declined) and illegal hands to the face.

Bodden's three 'fair catches'

November, 22, 2009
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Patriots cornerback Leigh Bodden tied a franchise record with three interceptions in Sunday's 31-14 triumph over the Jets at Gillette Stadium, returning one 53 yards for the game's first score.

The trio of picks tied a mark accomplished nine times in Patriots history, and last achieved by Asante Samuel against Chicago on Nov. 26, 2006.

But teammates weren't letting Bodden, who has five interceptions on the season, get a big head after his big day.

"I didn't know it was Dec. 25," joked linebacker Adalius Thomas. "I mean, three fair catches."

Added linebacker Pierre Woods: "I think it was a conspiracy or something, with three wide-open fair catches, two were on a knee, one was right there to him and he ran it in for a touchdown."

Bodden took the ribbing in stride, even as safety Brandon Meriweather joked with him as Bodden walked to the podium for a postgame press conference. His teammates were complimentary after their initial joking.

"Leigh had a great day," said Meriweather. "I don't want to take anything away from Leigh. He practiced hard. He watched a lot of film this week and it showed. They say you do what you do in practice. So he had a good week of practice and a good game."

Meriweather got in on the fun with an interception of his own in the second half after Bodden already had collected his three. Bodden did note that he was on a corner blitz on the play, which might have helped Meriweather's cause.

"Once the game starts, I say, 'Let me get one,'" said Meriweather. "So I always want to be the first one to get one. If I'm not, then I want to be the second."

Bodden, who appeared at the podium wearing No. 23, the number of Michael Jordan, said he didn't pick that jersey because of the basketball legend, but said he's a big fan.

Asked if No. 23 had been retired yet -- a proposal LeBron James is trying to circulate around the NBA -- Bodden joked, "Not here, not yet. I have to get a few more three-pick games and then maybe."

Patriots 31, Jets 14

November, 22, 2009
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Capitalizing on erratic rookie quarterback Mark Sanchez (four interceptions), and sparked by receiver Wes Welker’s career-high 15 catches, the New England Patriots defeated the New York Jets 31-14 Sunday at Gillette Stadium.

The Patriots jumped out to a 24-0 second-quarter lead and had a chance to bury the Jets early in the second half, but they didn’t deliver a decisive knockout punch until late in the fourth quarter.

The victory, coming seven days after a heartbreaking loss in Indianapolis, improves the Patriots’ record to 7-3 and keeps them two games ahead of the Dolphins (5-5) in the AFC East.

Cornerback Leigh Bodden tied a Patriots record with three interceptions, while safety Brandon Meriweather had the team’s other pickoff. Sanchez also lost a fumble late in the fourth quarter. Sanchez was 8 of 20 for 136 yards, with one touchdown and the four interceptions.

Welker was the catalyst for the Patriots' offense, his 15 catches going for 192 yards. Quarterback Tom Brady finished 28 of 41 for 310 yards and one touchdown.

Randy Moss had five catches for 34 yards and one touchdown in his duel with Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis, with Revis more than holding his own.

Reaction from both teams to come.

Patriots fired up in first half

November, 22, 2009
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Analysis from the first half with the Patriots leading the Jets 24-7:

This has been as energized and hard hitting of a first half as the Patriots have played this season. It has helped that Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez has been jittery and sporadic (2 INTs, one returned 53 yards by Leigh Bodden for a TD). Sanchez is 2 of 9 for 15 yards.

The Jets aren’t built to play from so far behind. They entered the game leading the NFL in rushing yards per game, but they’ll need to throw it to get back into this one. Sanchez doesn’t look capable of making it happen.

The individual matchup that was a top storyline entering the game -- Randy Moss vs. Darrelle Revis -- has been fun to watch. Revis is doing his part to help limit Moss (4 catches, 21 yards, TD) with physical play at the line and the ability to stay with him down the field. The Patriots have tried to go to Moss when it’s been a one-on-one matchup down the field, but Revis has answered the challenge more often than not.

At one juncture, the Patriots ran a bunch formation with Moss and Wes Welker as a way to help Moss shake free of Revis. On another play, three defenders broke toward Moss, opening a lane for Welker for a big gain. Welker (8 catches, 139 yards) has been terrific.

The Patriots are playing a base 3-4 defense, then going to a dime package (6 defensive backs) on obvious passing situations. The dime has swarmed, as that is the package in which Bodden has his two interceptions and the Patriots also have a sack.

The Patriots have brought a physical edge to this game, whether it has been left tackle Mark LeVoir crunching defensive back Donald Strickland on a receiver screen, or Laurence Maroney lowering his shoulder and steamrolling over a defender. Each time, the Patriots sideline has erupted as the hard hitting has helped the team build momentum.

On special teams, the Patriots had a punt blocked and recovered for a touchdown late in the second quarter. It looked like a case where the team might have missed special teams captain Sam Aiken as the personal protector, as Pat Chung blocked inside as pressure came to his left.

The Jets get the ball to start the second half.

Dime package on INT

November, 22, 2009
The Patriots were in their dime package on Leigh Bodden's 53-yard interception return for a score.

The personnel:

Myron Pryor
Derrick Burgess
Adalius Thomas
Jerod Mayo
Gary Guyton
Darius Butler
Pat Chung
Jonathan Wilhite
Leigh Bodden
Brandon McGowan
Brandon Meriweather