Some of his excerpted remarks:
On seeing Vince Wilfork line up at end:``Yeah, it's a little different seeing him there, obviously it's been so long that he's been right there at the nose. I just think it shows how versatile he is and again this defensive scheme over a long period of time he's been there and he knows it inside and out and he can be an end or he can be a nose. He's obviously a good player.''
On where he ranks Antonio Gates among tight ends in the league:``I think he's been the best there is and I think he's been that for the past handful of years. He's always been explosive and made good plays, but he's always been good at yards-after-catch on every single down.''
On whether he was ever surprised, as Patriots coach Bill Belichick seemed to marvel, at Gates's ability to get open: ``He doesn't [surprise me] just because we see it every day in practice. A guy with that much ability and to have as much success as he's had in his second, third, fourth year, he could've easily been content to keep going how he's going, but he's really tried to mentally improve every year and learn more and more about coverage schemes and what people are trying to do to him and that's certainly allowed himself to continually get himself open, which he does. Around here, with Gates, you don't talk yourself out of him having a chance to be open before the ball is snapped because whatever the coverage is, he seems to always find a way, so you have to always give him a chance.''
On his gutsy performance in the 2007 AFC Championship Game against the Patriots, in which he hobbled around on a torn ACL that required offseason surgery, and whether it elevated his career:``You know, I think had we won that game it may have been different, but that certainly wasn't my intention in playing the game. It wasn't to receive any attention or credit for playing injured. But I do think, as we've had guys do here many times, when you do fight through something like that and play and try to be there for your team you certainly earn some respect in the locker room and around your team. We had a lot of guys who played that day who needed some offseason surgeries and time to heal up. But, obviously, I was just trying to help us win the game and get ourselves to the big game. But we fell short. Again, I was certainly appreciative of the comments or whatever, but it certainly wasn't my intention for playing.''
On whether he would've been able to play in the Super Bowl had his team won the 2007 AFC title: Yeah, I would've been two weeks better to be honest with you. I think I'd have been in a lot better shape two weeks down the road, just from getting the extra strength and rehab like that. It wasn't so much the pain, it was the [instability] of the knee, not having an ACL in there. It was a little wobbly. But had we got through that one, I'd have been glad to try to give it four more quarters.''