For the first time as a Patriot, Bradin Cooks answered questions from reporters Wednesday on a conference call.
On the call, the 23-year-old Cooks said there’s no bad blood between him and the Saints and he didn’t request a trade. He also talked about growing up after the death of his father.
Here’s the full transcript of the call, as transcribed by the team:
Q: What was your reaction when you first learned you were traded to New England and what has been your reaction following your initial meeting with the organization? Also, have you been familiar over the years of Bill Belichick’s praise of you as a player?
BC: Well, first of all, once I found out about it I was thankful for the opportunity to play in New Orleans and the opportunity they’ve given me there; no bad blood. I love everything about the organization and the people. Things just happen in life. Second thing, when I found out about it I was ecstatic to be able to come play for an organization like New England and play for a guy like coach [Bill] Belichick and Tom [Brady] and Mr. [Robert] Kraft and his family. The whole process was a blessing as soon as I found out. I couldn’t be more thankful throughout this time, and as far as the praise from coach Belichick, I’ve never known about it. At the end of the day I feel like I have to earn his trust when I come in and play and continue doing what I’ve been doing.
Q: How important was Drew Brees in your development as a player and how excited are you to play with another outstanding quarterback in Tom Brady?
BC: To come into the league right away and play with a Hall of Fame quarterback, that alone is going to boost your career right away. I have nothing but high praise for Drew [Brees]. He’s a workaholic, a guy that pays attention to the game, so detailed. So as a young guy to be able to have that, [it] takes some things off your plate rather than I feel like other young guys that come into the league that don’t necessarily have that, so it was a blessing to be able to play with him. At the same time, he helped me learn about the game more overall, from an overall standpoint. That was very helpful. So to come in and now have the opportunity to play with another Hall of Fame quarterback, I guess I know how to pick quarterbacks, right? I’m looking forward to it. I’ve followed Tom Brady since I was a kid, so to be able to have a chance to play with him is awesome.
Q: What do you remember from your battles versus Malcolm Butler during the joint practices between the Saints and Patriots the past couple of years?
BC: It was a battle. Good against good, and that was the type of matchup you look forward to, so to be able to practice against him as well as play in a game was fun and it helped me become better in my career, and hopefully it did the same for him.
Q: Do you feel that there were any aspects of your game that you didn’t get to showcase fully in New Orleans?
BC: As a young guy I think there were some things that I would’ve liked to have done more. Not like I wasn’t able to do them, we just had great guys doing those other things so if it’s not broken why fix it? But coming to New England it seems like it’s an offense that guys do a bunch of different things and I’m looking forward to being able to do some things that I didn’t necessarily have to do in New Orleans, hopefully to get the chance here and do it here.
Q: For clarification, did you request a trade out of New England, and if not what was it like when you started hearing those rumors?
BC: No, I didn’t. It was a long process. So if we can set this straight, I think a lot of that and what was going on got taken out of context and a little exaggerated, and throughout the process I felt like I had to take the blows and keep my mouth shut, which is fine. It just happened to be a great opportunity for both sides. To be able to build what they want to build and to be sent off to a good team for me I think is a win-win situation. Like I said, the rumors out there and what’s been going on and what’s been told, I don’t let it bother me. I’m just here to play football and that’s what it’s all about.
Q: You lost your father at a young age. How was that shaped who you are and how have you been able to overcome that up to this point in your career?
BC: Well, I think the way I look at it, I lost my father when I was seven. [I have] three older brothers and my mom raised us four by herself. The way I look at it now I take it positive and I see it as a blessing just because of the hardships we had to overcome in life in general, so to be able to play this game – the hardships that we go through on the field – it’s nothing compared to that. And I’m just blessed to be able to make my mom proud, make my family proud, and [fulfill] the promises that I always promised her and make her happy and take care of her one day. Throughout that time it’s been hard, but at the same time it’s made me who I am today and I don’t plan on stopping any time soon in making her proud.
Q: Who are some of the people that you feel like have most helped you overcome those obstacles?
BC: I would have to say my mom, my brothers, my high school coaches, college coaches, some families back home – the Spanos family as well as the Solderman [unconfirmed spelling] family from back home. They did a great job of just letting me be around and experience things that I never thought I’d be able to experience as a kid. A lot of people had a play into this and I couldn’t thank them more.
Q: What are some of the things that you didn’t get to do on the field in New Orleans that you would like to do in New England, and do you think you are the type of receiver who can play in the slot?
BC: As far as going into detail on what I would like to do, I’d rather not go into detail. But as far as playing in the slot, I definitely think I can do that at a high level. It’ll be all about what coach [Bill] Belichick and the offense think I can fit well at and just doing my job the best that I can.
Q: How competitive were you as a kid growing up considering you were a smaller guy and how much did any competition with your older brothers help you overcome that?
BC: I mean quote-unquote ‘always being the small guy’ has been fun for me because it’s a challenge and I love challenges. But having three older brothers, being in the household, you’ve got to fight them all the time to get what you want. I think that helped a lot as far as the toughness, but as you all know and as has been said plenty of times from guys like me, one thing you can’t measure is heart and I feel like I’ve got one of the biggest hearts out there. Physical wise, I’m not too worried about it. It’s just playing ball and doing what I have to do.
Q: Do you notice any difference between the way you play indoors like in New Orleans versus outdoors in the elements?
BC: I don’t think about that.
Q: Do you prepare any differently for a game outdoors versus indoors?
BC: No, not that I can think of off the top of my head.
Q: What were the impressions that you got of the Patriots as an organization and the coaching staff in particular when you went against them in joint practices with the New Orleans Saints?
BC: Every time I went against them you can just see why it’s a first class organization. From the way that they run things, the way that they coach their players, the way that they walked and talked, my impression was very high for that organization and you see why they are who they are. It’s just a dream come true and a blessing to be able to have this opportunity now to play for them.
Q: Obviously, you were about a decade apart from Chad Johnson at Oregon State but have you had any interaction with him or has he reached out since you were traded to New England?
BC: No, I don’t think I’ve ever talked to him. We’re pretty far apart. So, no, I have not.