FOXBOROUGH — The Super Bowl will be a homecoming for Patriots center David Andrews, but the Georgia native doesn’t necessarily view things that way.
“I’m really not going home,’’ Andrews said Wednesday at Gillette Stadium. “I’m going to work.’’
Even though he went to high school less than 25 miles away from Atlanta’s Mercedes-Benz Stadium, where the Patriots and Los Angeles Rams will face off for the Lombardi Trophy on Feb. 3, Andrews isn’t acting overly sentimental about his return to the Peach State.
That’s not to say he isn’t a fan of his roots.
Born and raised in Georgia, Andrews grew up a die-hard Georgia Bulldogs fan. So much so that an offer to play in red and black was “all [he] really wanted’’ when he was being recruited out of high school. Andrews held out on scholarship offers from Duke and Michigan in hopes that then-coach Mark Richt would invite him to join the squad at Georgia. When the phone rang in February of his junior year, he accepted immediately.
“There was no question where I was going to school,’’ Andrews said. “The day they called me, I think I committed in about 30 seconds. It wasn’t much of a recruiting process for me.’’
After four seasons with the Bulldogs, Andrews was not selected in the 2015 NFL Draft but signed with the Patriots shortly after the last selection was made.
Having never been to New England, he said he “didn’t really know what [he] was getting into.’’ Four years later, he’s about to play in his third consecutive Super Bowl.
Andrews, however, has yet to revisit his home state for an NFL game.
Since he joined the team, the Patriots have played the Atlanta Falcons twice — Super Bowl LI at Houston’s NRG Stadium, and a regular-season game at Gillette in October 2017.
That being said, Andrews still maintains the upcoming trip to Atlanta is not particularly significant.
“What you’re going to remember and what you’re going to value and treasure is the result of the game,’’ Andrews said. “You’re not really going to say, ‘Oh, that Wednesday was super fun because we did something.’ You’re really going to be focused on the result. That’s what you remember 20, 30, 40 years down the road.’’
What about his family? Are they more excited to attend this Super Bowl?
“They’d be excited if it was in Alaska,’’ Andrews said with a smile.
The Patriots will spend a week practicing in Atlanta before the game, and while Andrews has a list of favorite restaurants (Little Alley Steak) and sightseeing destinations (the aquarium) in the city, preparations for the Rams trump any family excursions.
“I’m not really focused on what I’m going to do there,’’ Andrews said. “I’ll save that for about three more weeks when I’m back home in the offseason and can really do what I want. Right now, I’m just trying to win this football game.’’
Andrews will play an important role for a Patriots offensive line that held the Chiefs’ defense to just one quarterback hit and no sacks in the AFC Championship game.
“[The center] is a critical position, and it’s critical to the functionality of the entire unit,’’ Patriots coach Bill Belichick said. “David’s a good center. He’s played center his whole life. He played center in junior high, he played center in high school, he played center in college, and he’s playing center here.
“I would say he’s very comfortable with all of the things that come with that position.
“I can’t imagine there’s anything that he sees at this point in his career that he hasn’t already seen multiple times, if not hundreds of times, in one way or another. He’s very experienced and he’s very adept at [communicating]. He’s a career center and he plays like it.’’
Andrews acknowledged the Rams’ front seven will present a challenge, calling tackle Aaron Donald “the best defensive player in the league.’’ But he’s confident in his group’s ability to get the job done.
“Guys are buying in, buying into the techniques [and] the schemes,’’ Andrews said. “We’ve had our bumps and bruises this season, but we kept moving forward. You got mentally tough guys.’’
In the week leading up to the game, the Patriots will practice at Georgia Tech — the former home turf of fellow lineman Shaq Mason, who said he is looking forward to seeing Andrews and fellow Georgia Bulldog Sony Michel practicing on their former rival’s field.
How does Andrews feel about that?
“No comment,’’ he said. “I’ll leave it at that.’’