Meet the new guy: WR Tiquan Underwood
|08.30.11 at 3:31 pm ET|
FOXBORO — One of the first things Tiquan Underwood did when he was acquired by the Patriots was text his college buddy Devin McCourty with the good news. Initially, McCourty thought he was being pranked by his former college teammate.
“They were about to fly to Detroit [for Saturday’s preseason game], and he thought I was joking around,” said Underwood. “He got word of it and we spoke about it. He said, ‘Come up here ready to work, it’s a great opportunity for you.’”
A 6-foot-1, 183-pounder out of Rutgers, the 24-year old Underwood joins the Patriots with experience as a kick returner and wide receiver. He’s appeared in 19 games over two seasons with the Jaguars, primarily as a kick returner (he averaged 23.4 yards per return on 24 kicks last season). Underwood also had eight receptions for 111 yards last year. He was released by Jacksonville on Aug. 25.
“It’s part of this business,” he said when asked about getting cut by the Jags. “It’s going to happen to each and every one of us at one point. I wouldn’t say surprised, but you get down when something like that happens. But one door closes and another opens. I’m just looking forward to the next opportunity I have, which is here with the New England Patriots.”
“He’s a later draft choice,” coach Bill Belichick said on Monday when Underwood was first acquired. “A player that I think is improving. Obviously he didn’t make their roster, but we felt like we might have a chance — well we do have a chance now to take a look at him. And so we’ll see what that looks like. Good sized receiver. Played with (Kenny) Britt at Rutgers. He hasn’t had a lot of playing time and production in the NFL, but he’s had some.”
“When you think about the Patriots, you think about coach Bill Belichick and the team. Great tradition here … and winning. Winning ballgames,” he said. “When you get the opportunity to play with a quarterback of that caliber, just to be a part of an organization this caliber, it’s very exciting. I’m looking forward to it.”
Underwood, who will be wearing No. 10 with the Patriots (he has the locker and number of former Patriots wide receiver Darnell Jenkins, who was released on Monday), says he hasn’t talked much about what his role will be in New England.
“I’m just here trying to help the team win the best I can, whether it’s special teams or offense. Right now I’m just learning this playbook and just taking it day by day,” he said. “I haven’t spoken to anybody much, they told me to come in ready to work, learn the playbook, and then go out there and fight for a position. Just go hard.”
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