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Supporting roles for some

Understudies try to enjoy the day

By Peter Abraham
Globe Staff / February 1, 2012
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INDIANAPOLIS - Tom Brady had his own podium for Super Bowl Media Day yesterday, complete with a barrier around the stage and two security guards to keep the jostling masses from getting too close.

Most of the notable players and coach Bill Belichick were on similar islands amid a sea of television cameras, microphones, and voice recorders. But the majority of the players and coaches were left to fend for themselves on the Lucas Oil Stadium field.

For some Patriots, Media Day was almost a lonely experience as they waited for the scoreboard clock to tick down on the hour-long session.

“I had a reporter from Austria ask me to explain the rules of football. That was about it,’’ said Matt Kopa, an offensive linemen on the practice squad. “I told him what a touchdown was. Otherwise I’ve been hanging out with the rest of the guys. People want to talk to the star players, not to us.’’

Safety Sergio Brown was so bored at one point that he turned his own video camera on teammates Dane Fletcher and Dan Connolly and started asking them questions about the game.

We can report that members of the Patriots are quite confident in the Patriots.

Backup running back Shane Vereen also played reporter, interviewing practice squad receiver Britt Davis.

“We’re trying to have fun with this,’’ said Davis, who appeared in three games for the Broncos last season and was signed by the Patriots earlier this month. “This is the Super Bowl. For a lot of us, this could be a once-in-a-lifetime experience. You try to soak it all in and enjoy it as best you can.

“I may be on the practice squad, but it’s still a blessing to be in this situation. This experience will help me down the road. I hope someday I can be one of the guys on the podium.’’

Offensive linemen Rich Ohrnberger and Ryan Wendell were left alone for the most part, although a German television reporter did quiz them at length about teammate Sebastian Vollmer.

As Wendell stood off to the side trying to suppress a laugh, Ohrnberger launched into a flowery description of Vollmer’s qualities.

“He’s been teaching me German,’’ Ohrnberger said. “I also understand that he’s an excellent swimmer. He could hold some records.’’

Ohrnberger and Wendell were then taught to say, “Enjoy the Super Bowl’’ in German and repeated it back on camera. But the first take wasn’t good enough.

“You need more enthusiasm,’’ they were told by the producer.

They tried again, this time with big smiles and two thumbs up. The demanding Germans deemed that performance acceptable.

Ohrnberger, who has spent the season on injured reserve with a head injury, said the Super Bowl experience is somewhat bittersweet for him. As much as he wants to be playing, he is trying to enjoy himself.

“I’m doing whatever I can to help out. Whatever the guys need, I try to help,’’ Ohrnberger said. “I guess today I’m helping out doing some interviews. The big thing for me is to get healthy now. I’ll be ready to go in the spring and I’m looking forward to that. For now, I’m trying to have fun.’’

Defensive back Ross Ventrone got some extra attention because of his long hair and took the opportunity to talk about his poetry.

“I’m the suburban poet. A lot of guys on the team just call me the poet. I think some of them don’t know my name, so they call me the poet,’’ he said.

Ventrone should come up with something that rhymes with “transaction’’ given that he has been added to the roster, released, or added to the practice squad 21 times since August 10.

As Ventrone riffed about his poetry skills, Markell Carter posed with a miniature sombrero on his head for the benefit of Mexican television.

“This whole thing is kind of crazy,’’ said Carter, a linebacker on the practice squad. “But this the Super Bowl, it’s all a little crazy. I can’t believe I’m here in the middle of this.’’

For those Patriots who weren’t in demand on Media Day, the time passed a little slowly. But there were no complaints.

“The important thing is to be here,’’ Brown said. “That’s all that matters.’’

Peter Abraham can be reached at pabraham@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @PeteAbe.

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