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Adrian Wilson on why he chose Patriots: ‘Winning’

04.30.13 at 1:24 pm ET
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FOXBORO — In his first extended sitdown with the New England media, safety Adrian Wilson apparently still has some hard feeling about the way things ended in Arizona.

The 33-year-old is a 6-foot-3, 230-pounder out of North Carolina State who was released by the Cardinals in a cap-related move. He’s a five-time Pro Bowler who spent all 12 of his seasons as a professional in Arizona.

After leading the Cardinals for several seasons, Wilson’€™s role started to shrink in 2011, and was pulled off the field as a nickel defensive back at several points late in 2012. Still in all, he played in 15 games last season (14 starts) with 54 tackles (39 of them solo), to go along with five passes defensed and an interception. For his career, he has 27 career picks (including five in 2009) and 87 career passes defensed, including 14 in 2011 and 13 in 2009.

“Last year was last year — obviously, things didn’t go my way as far as the way I wanted them to go,” he said during a break in workouts at Gillette Stadium. “Obviously, players slow down as they get older, but they also have experience. They’ve seen a lot of things as far as football. To say that a person is not good enough, that wouldn’t be the right verbiage to use as far as that is concerned. I feel that like I could help this team win. That’s pretty much what I’m here to do.”

As far as why he picked the Patriots, it was easy.

“Winning,” he said with a smile. “They win. Other than that, very disciplined team, a team that you’€™re going to have to beat ‘em. It’€™s like a champ — you have to decidedly beat the champ, you can’€™t just go out there and box a good 12 rounds, you have to actually knock ‘em out.”

The understated Wilson, who might be the biggest defensive back the Patriots have ever signed — he looks more like a linebacker that a safety — has spent much of his time since offseason workouts began imparting his wisdom on the New England defensive backs, a younger group that has impressed him this offseason.

“They’re very talented,” he said. “Obviously, it’s a young group. We all can continue to learn, and I think that’s probably the main thing that I try to tell those guys. We can all learn from each other and get better together.”

Some of that wisdom has come from his own experiences — Wilson said he’s gotten a lot smarter since he came into the league.

“I used to take ridiculous chances on the football field, just try to make a big play. Just try to make a splash play,” he said. “I think now it’s different just because you know formations and you know tendencies. You go through all that type of stuff. You pay more attention to it. As opposed to a young player that just looks at the formation as tricks. You don’t really go through the things in your head before the play happens.”

This year will mark a new experience for Wilson, who spent 12 seasons in the desert with the Cardinals. He said it’s a “scary” proposition starting all over with a new group of teammates, but right now, things are “moving in the right direction.”

“Obviously, you want to come in with the right mindset, and you just want to get along with the guys, really, and you want to kind of make sure you hang around them, get to know each and every guy,” he said. “I think that’s probably really the biggest concern I have right now, is just trying to make sure I know all of the guys that I’m going to be playing with.”

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