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Ryan Mallett talks about the Patriots, Tom Brady and how he’s dealing with the lockout

05.20.11 at 1:37 am ET

Patriots third-round pick Ryan Mallett talked with ESPN’s “Scott Van Pelt Show” on Thursday on a bunch of different things, including his draft-day experience with the Patriots, why he was taken aback that it was New England on the other end of the phone, what he thinks of the Patriots and how he’s handling the lockout. Here are some highlights:

On draft day, who called you? What happened when the phone rang?
“Coach Belichick and Mr. Kraft called me and talked to me. I was just kind of surprised, actually, by them calling me. The Patriots, that is.”

Why were you surprised?
“Cause Tom’s there, and I wasn’t expecting them to take a quarterback. So it was a pretty big surprise.”

Given their reputation, what did it mean to you that they were the team that picked you?
“You look at their track record and you look at the wins and losses, and obviously, they’ve been a really good franchise for the last 10 or 15 years or so. I want to be a part of that, I want to be a part of a winning franchise, so I was really excited when they gave me the call.”

On handling the lockout:
“That’€™s the hardest part, especially when you’€™re playing quarterback ‘€” you want to get into the playbook, you want to absorb and just soak in as much as you can and be around people that have done it. So with the lockout and everything it’€™s hard to do that. What I’€™ve tried to do is just get in touch with teammates and get all the information I can. I’€™ve thrown with a couple guys. Just been working out and staying in shape for right now until we find something out.”

Have you had a chance to visit yet with Tom Brady?
“I haven’t yet. I’m sure I will soon. I think we’ve got some things coming up that we’re going to work on….”

As a guy who plays the same position, what do you like about Tom Brady?
‘€œWhen you study him, I like … he uses his cadence well and a lot of times he gets the defense to tip their hand and whatever give him the look he wants, or he can make his call. The way he and Peyton Manning play the game at the line of scrimmage is something you really admire, especially when that’s what you like to do as a quarterback also. That’s something that really sticks with you. It makes you go harder at it.”

Did you have a preference as to where you would end up — would you have rather come into a place where you could play today?
“I really didn’t. My whole goal since I started playing ‘€” I’ve said this a million times: I just wanted to be drafted. To say that i was picked in the NFL draft and I had my chance. Now, what am I going to do with it? Now, it’s up to me.”

What was the most difficult part of the pre-draft process?
“The hardest part about that was probably on my family, just because it hurts them when they hear stuff like that. They know me and they’re closest to me. Things like that really weren’t something they wanted to hear. That had to deal with a bunch of nonsense, but now that it’s over, we’re glad it’s over. We can focus on the future and what’s ahead of us.”

Do you feel like there were things that you did that maybe you should have done differently if I want to be a successful professional?
“I made mistakes, obviously, like everybody. It’s been in the public eye since my first year at Arkansas when I had a little run-in. But I’m not really worried about that now. I’ve grown up from that. I’ve learned from that. I made my mistakes, and I don’t really dwell on that. Now, I know that I’m looking into the future and what I have ahead of me. Behind me is behind me.”

How big a difference is there between the guy you are and some of the things you heard? Did you hear things and say, ‘I don’t even know who they’re talking about?’
“Definitely. Definitely. A huge difference. And the people that really know me ‘€” like, actually know me and talk to me in person ‘€” would say the same thing.”

When you go to play for Mr. Kraft and Bill Belichick, what did they tell you about what it means to be a professional player and what it means to play for the Patriots?
“Just go to work. It’s time to go to work now. And I proud of that. I’m proud to be a part of that. I’m looking forward to getting in there and getting going.”

Read More: 2011 NFL Draft, Bill Belichick, Robert Kraft, Ryan Mallett



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