Against Miami, Tom Brady apparently had no idea who Eric Lee was

The defensive end certainly made a name for himself against the Bills a week later.

Eric Lee New England Patriots
Eric Lee celebrates his interception during the first quarter. –Barry Chin/Globe Staff

Late season Patriots pick-up Eric Lee made his presence known against the Bills on Sunday. The 23-year-old defensive end recorded an interception and one-and-a-half sacks against Buffalo — where he previously was a member of the practice squad before signing with New England at the end of November.

Having also recorded a sack and four tackles against Miami, Lee is beginning to prove his ability to contribute in just two appearances with his new defensive line. The turn of events happened so fast, however, that quarterback Tom Brady didn’t even know who his teammate was when he made his Patriots debut in Week 12.


According to Sunday’s CBS broadcast, Tony Romo said that Brady had to ask wide receiver Danny Amendola about the new No. 55 in the middle of the team’s game against the Dolphins. Former Patriots defensive end Cassisus Marsh had worn the number earlier this season before getting released the same day Lee was signed.

“As a quarterback for the team, [Brady] looks up last week against Miami — him and Danny Amendola are sitting on the bench — he looks up at the monitor and goes, ‘Oh good job! By… Eric… Lee…'” Romo said. “He looks over to Amendola and asks, ‘Who’s Eric Lee?'”

Brady wasn’t the only one getting confused, though. Romo admitted that the personnel change had also tripped him up and added that the mixups happen “all the time” in the NFL.

“I thought it was Marsh because we’ve called games before and 55’s been Marsh all year,” Romo told sportscaster Jim Nantz. “Then they got Lee, so you’re like, ‘Oh right. It’s Lee.'”

When asked about Lee’s transition to the team, New England’s head coach Bill Belichick had nothing but praise for the young addition.

He’s done the things that we’ve asked him to do and he’s done them at a pretty good level. He’s only been here a couple weeks, so there’s still a lot of things for him to learn. There are finer points on various plays that, when he seems them again, he’ll recognize them quicker or react a little bit differently.

But, overall, he’s done a solid job for us in the things that he’s been asked to do. He was asked to do a little more yesterday than he was last week against Miami, so maybe that role will increase, maybe it will stay the same, maybe it will decrease a little bit depending on the game plan and so forth.

We’ll just have to see how that goes, but the last two weeks, the opportunities he’s had, he’s given us some good plays and I’m glad we have him.


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