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Tommy Kelly: Bill Belichick doesn’t guarantee anybody anything

05.29.13 at 1:48 pm ET
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Tommy Kelly

Tommy Kelly

FOXBORO — Defensive tackle Tommy Kelly has only been around the Patriots for a few months, but he already knows how the game is played in New England.

After Wednesday’s OTA session behind Gillette Stadium, the 32-year-old was asked if he’s excited about the potential of making the postseason for the first time in his career, and he quickly answered with a smile.

“Yeah, but you know, I have to make the team first,” he said with a laugh. “[Coach] Bill [Belichick] doesn’t guarantee anybody anything. I have to get on the team before I start thinking about that. You see how many people they get rid of around here? Make the team first, then worry about all that.

“When you’re dealing with a coach with a résumé like his, if somebody like that believes in you, it makes you feel good about yourself,” Kelly said of Belichick. “At the same time, it’s a program where you’ve got to prove yourself. If you don’t, he’ll get rid of you.”

The 6-foot-6, 325-pound Kelly, who spent the last nine seasons with the Raiders, signed a free agent deal this spring with the Patriots. The Mississippi State product is excited for several aspects of his career in New England, including the opportunity to play alongside Vince Wilfork.

“Oh, I love Vince. He makes my job much easier. He makes most of the line calls. It’s easy to play with somebody who’s got experience and can really, really play,” he said. “He’s lunch-pail to me. He’s reliable, consistent — you know he’s going to be out there every Sunday. You know he’s going to give you everything he’s got. And as a d-tackle, that’s all you can ask, because being in the trenches all day, you get beat up a lot. He gives out his share, too.”

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