Patriots defensive lineman Ron Brace called his rookie experience “humbling,” and said Wednesday he wasn’t prepared for life in the NFL.
“For someone coming out straight out of college straight into the real world, you have this job where everybody’s yelling at you to do something and you don’t know what you’re doing and you basically have to catch on quick and catch up with the pack,” he said Wednesday after participating in organized team acitivities at Gillette Stadium.
“It was kind of a humbling experience for me because I didn’t get to play. But it also opened my eyes to let me know there’s still work to do. You ain’t the big man around here anymore. There’s another big man. You’ve got to learn your role and fall in and just work on trying to excel.”
The 6-foot-3, 330 pound Brace was used to starting and contributing — with Boston College, he started 40 of his 49 games in college. But as a rookie in New England, he was an inactive for seven games and suited up but didn’t play in an eighth. He did make two starts toward the end of the season, but admitted Wednesday that as a rookie, he struggled with the mental aspect of life in the NFL, and pulled no punches when it came to assessing his play in 2009.
“There are a lot of people who are built for this game physically, but not a lot of them are made for it mentally,” he said. “I just had to get my mind up strong and catch up to everybody else, because they’ve played in this game for a long time. People coming from different colleges had their own ways of teaching players how to play.
“Before, I just had to know my gap. Now, I have to know what I’m doing, what my teammates doing, what my opponents doing. I had to put in a lot of work there. It was a real big shock right there. I have to pick it up.”
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