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Bodden has wins in mind

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By Ben Collins
Globe Correspondent / August 5, 2009

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Twenty-five and 51.

If somebody were to sit down with a calculator and add up Leigh Bodden’s career record for every game he’s played in, that would be it.

After the veteran cornerback was cut by the Detroit Lions in February, Bodden was that somebody with a calculator.

“It was in my head all this time, and I was sitting around with friends one day and we were messing around about it, so I decided to calculate it over the years,’’ he said. “It’s not too good, man. Not too good.’’

Last year’s 0-16 Lions did more damage in that list than anyone else. Bodden was given a healthy bonus when he signed with the Lions, but he had already been demoted by training camp. Sixteen losses later, he says, it didn’t matter that he was cut.

“Oh, I didn’t care,’’ he said. “This is a good situation for me now. It was frustrating last year. But it’s frustrating when anybody doesn’t win.’’

Even though he was apathetic about his release, Bodden wanted to go someplace where he could win. He had been on the 10-6 Cleveland Browns in 2007 as a starting corner - and his 88-tackle, six-interception performance that year earned him his bonus money in Detroit. But even that team didn’t make the playoffs.

He had been considering other teams - he hinted that some of the offers were even heftier - but he wanted to go somewhere where he could improve the number in his win column.

“I’ve been in this league seven years and I haven’t won anything,’’ said Bodden. “That was the deciding factor. Here, it was a no-brainer. I’d get to win.’’

A year after being bid on as a top free agent, Bodden is now under the radar in Patriots training camp. And he can feel the difference.

“You can tell - it’s a cultural thing - organization-wide there are a lot of differences,’’ he said. “Everything is up a notch. Everybody here is hungry to win. From the coaches to the owner, everybody wants to win.’’

He is part of a bolstered core of defensive backs, restocked for the first time since the Patriots lost Pro Bowl corner Asante Samuel to Philadelphia in free agency last season. Bodden and pickup Shawn Springs hope to bring a gritty presence to the secondary.

“Pretty much my whole career I’ve been thought of as a pretty physical corner,’’ he said. “I just want to be able to help out.’’

Bodden says he’s having an easier time picking up the system than he thought. He spent three years in Cleveland with Romeo Crennel, the former New England defensive coordinator who adapted schemes from his Patriots days.

“A lot of the stuff with Romeo in Cleveland is similar,’’ said Bodden. “The terminology is a little bit different, but I didn’t forget it.’’

This has afforded him some time to spend with rookies. He’s bonding with Patriots top pick Patrick Chung (“We’ve hung out; Patty’s a real good dude’’) and rookie corner Darius Butler, who Bodden thinks is “a great young corner.’’

Bodden says it’s all part of his goal to make sure he is remembered most for his years as a Patriot.

“It’s one of those things where I want to have my family have things to talk about when I’m done,’’ said Bodden. “Hopefully this year will be the year they’ll want to talk about. I can’t foresee the future, but it’s a good situation so far.’’

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