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Sanders working out in California, discusses 'weird' season

Posted by Shalise Manza Young, Globe Staff  May 13, 2011 11:08 AM

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Patriots safety James Sanders popped up on Twitter this offseason, and he's popped up again on a blog called Meat Locker Sports, doing an interview about what he's up to during the lockout and looking back on the 2010 season.

Heading into his seventh season, the highly respected leader of the secondary is training with his former Fresno State teammate Richard Marshall.

“I come back home to Fresno, California and train with a small group. But my main training partner is one of my best friends, Richard Marshall of the Carolina Panthers. We get together on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, 4 days a week and we just grind," Sanders said. "Our trainer out here Steve Sabonya (Progressive Sports Conditioning) has done a great a job getting us in shape, as well as our sprint coach Josh Norman. We run hills, we have strict weight lifting regiments…the first couple weeks were brutal. But they do a great job.”

Not surprisingly, Sanders said he's still pushing to get better. He is driven to win a championship ring - drafted in 2005, he wasn't part of the Pats' title-winning teams.

“Personally for me, I just want to improve my game each year. I know a lot of guys say it, but I just want to learn to become the best player that I can possibly be. I feel like I haven’t reached my full potential. I feel like I’m still learning more and more after each season.

"I just want to continue to grow in all facets of my game, run defense, pass defense, special teams… everything. I want to continue to strive to be a better player every year and I feel up to this point that I’ve been improving each year and I just aim to continue to do so. As a team, obviously the goal is to win a Super Bowl. I’ve come close a couple of times, but I haven’t had the opportunity to hold that trophy and get that championship ring and that’s something I still strive to earn.”

Sanders also talks about his first days in the league and practicing against Tom Brady. He also said last season was a "weird" one:

“Last year was a weird year. Off the top of my head I can’t remember how many games I started, but it was quite a few. I approach each game, week after week, as if I’m going to be the starter," Sanders said. "The worst thing you can do is go in unprepared. If you get thrown in the fire, you need to be ready to go. I’d rather be over prepared then under prepared. You sit there thinking you’re not going to play and of a sudden your number is called and you could potentially cost your team the game. I always want to be known as a reliable player, and for the coaches to have faith that when they put me in the game, I’m going to get the job done.”

News, analysis and commentary from Boston.com's staff writers and contributors, including Zuri Berry and Erik Frenz.

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