Here's a transcript of cornerback Darius Butler's conference call with the New England media -- transcribed by the Patriots' media relations department -- after being selected by the Patriots in the second round (41st overall) in the NFL Draft.
Q: What are your initial thoughts about being drafted by the Patriots?
Darius Butler: Itís great. Iím going to a great team thatís been in the Super Bowl every other year. Iím just ready to go in there. Theyíve got some veteran [players], learn from those guys, bust my hump and do whatever Iíve got to do to help the team.
Q: What was your visit like? I know that Bill Belichick came up to UConnís Pro Day, but what has your contact been like with him?
DB: Actually, there wasnít too much contact after my Pro Day. Like you said, I met with those guys at my Pro Day before I worked out. I met with the D-coordinator and went over some schemes and over some board work, and actually a lot of the things they did were similar to things we did in college. I was looking forward to the opportunity if it came across, and obviously I did enough to impress them enough for them to pick me, and Iím happy to be here.
Q: Was Bill Belichick the only head coach that came to your Pro Day?
DB: I believe so. I think he was. The Patriots actually ran my workouts, pretty much. They ran the drills that I did, but I think he was the only head coach there.
Q: What did that tell you about the Patriotsí level of interest?
DB: I actually talked to Mike Mayock before I worked out and he told me that Coach Belichick doesnít usually come to Pro Days. I donít know if it was the geographical convenience or that he was interested in some players there, but it worked out and I guess that he was interested enough to take me.
Q: How meaningful is it for you to come the New England Patriots, having played college ball in Connecticut?
DB: Itís good. They have the same standards as I had in college. [Theyíre] really disciplined. Itís about hard work and doing your role for the greater [good] of the team. Thatís what the Patriots are about and theyíre about winning championships and thatís what Iím about. Like I said, I look forward to the opportunity to go up there and help the team.
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Q: Where were you today and how did the day go? Did you get a call from Belichick?
DB: Iím actually down in South Florida at a hotel. My parents put together a little draft party for me. A lot of family and friends came over and we watched the draft and we got kind of anxious. I was getting a little nervous. I had to loosen my tie a little bit, but when I saw those guys get those back-to-back picksóthe 40 and 41óI had a feeling that that might be the landing spot for me. My agent called me and also my head coach from college texted me. Like you said, Bill Belichick gave me a call and I also talked to Mr. Kraft, so it was a good phone conversation and Iím just ready to get up there and work.
Q: Following up on what you said about the Patriotsí work ethic and playing for Randy Edsall at UConn, what has Randy taught you, in terms of being ready for the NFL?
DB: Like you said, the work ethic is the number one thing, because everybody at the next level is talented. I know Iím talented. Iím confident in my physical gifts, but that can only keep you in the game or get you so far. It becomes a mental game and obviously film study, how hard you work in the offseason in the weight room and things like thatÖI know I want to get stronger, I want to get smarter as far as the game goes, and I look forward to doing that in New England.
Q: What parts of the game do you feel you excel at and what parts do you feel you could improve at?
DB: I can improve in all aspects of my game. Like I said, I think I have good physical tools; Iím athletic. I can get stronger and I look forward to improving all of my game. Now itís my profession, itís my job, itís all I have to do to make my livelihood. Iím looking forward to the challenge and Iím also looking forward to the opportunity.
Q: Is there anyone you model yourself after?
DB: Actually, I model myself after Asante Samuel. He [was] obviously a great Patriot and I model myself after him. Iíve been compared to him by a lot of DB coaches going around on my visits and workouts in the league, and hopefully I can have the same kind of success he had early in his career, the last couple years when he was a Patriot. Like I said, I know I have to work to get to that level, and Iím looking forward to putting in all of that work.
Q: Where are you in South Florida?
DB: Iím at the Westin Diplomat in Hollywood, Florida.
Q: Is there a lot of pride to be coming from UConn on what is probably the programís most successful draft weekend ever?
DB: Iím very proud. All of us guys came in to college with a chip on our shoulders because we felt like we were a kind of overlooked. Actually, four of us got drafted today. Donald [Brown] went to the Colts in the first round. I went to the patriots. Will Beatty went to the Giants, and Cody [Brown] just got drafted to the Cardinals. Obviously, they have some more guys that are still waiting to get picked, but itís a big day for UConn, especially as far as how high we got drafted. But we know this is just one step
Q: Have you thought at all about lining up across from Tom Brady in practice and what that might be like?
DB: I was actually talking about that with my brother. He was like Ďyou know, youíre going to be doing these mini camps and training camp, and youíre going to be lining up with Tom Brady and Randy Moss, coming from playing whoever you played in college.í Itís obviously going to be a big jump, but I feel like if I can prepare and play with those guys and just nitpick at whatever I can get from those guys, from their brains, then thatís the better for me.
Q: What do you have to do to hold your own against Randy Moss?
DB: Oh, man. Weíll see. Weíll see, because like I said, Iím a confident player and Iím confident in my abilities and I know I can get better. Thatís my goal. Iím going against the best every day, so Iíve got to hold my own.
Q: How much did you talk to Willis McGahee during this process?
DB: A lot. Probably at least twice a week we just kind of talked, kind of seeing where I was at, where I was headed. He was actually supposed to make it [to my draft party]. He didnít make it because of something medical, but heís been great throughout this process. Willis, Tyvon Branch, heís been great letting me know whatís coming and how itís going to go, and also Donald Thomas. Both of those guys are here at my party and it was just a great day.
Q: Was there any advice that Willis gave you that stuck out?
DB: Just pretty much take care of what I can take care of. Just to take care of yourself because I canít really control where Iím picked or what the media is saying. All I can control are my workouts, my interviews and things like that.