FOXBORO, Mass. — Armond Armstead is taking part in Patriots rookie camp this weekend, but he isn’t exactly a rookie — even if he isn’t exactly sure what to call himself.
“I don’t know what to consider myself,” Armstead joked. “I would say, I am a rookie in the NFL. So, sure I’m a rookie.”
Armstead spent the 2012 season in the CFL, playing for the Toronto Argonauts, after leaving USC due to some health issues and conflicts with the coaching staff. The time abroad definitely humbled the 22-year-old defensive lineman, but he now sees it as a something of a blessing for his professional football career.
“Just to have an opportunity to play professional, even though it was Canadian, I feel like I learned a lot of stuff — just how to be a pro and how to work,” Armstead said. “I feel like it’s going to help me out a lot moving on.”
As for if he found the experience different than his time in college, Armstead said the two don’t even compare.
“As far as SC goes, I don’t think the talent at SC was so high,” Armstead said of his three years with the Trojans. “Practice [in the CFL] everyday was harder than every game I had in college. So, that was a different experience for me.”
Armstead clearly wasn’t fazed by the challenge, as he was named an All-Star during his only season in the CFL. He may need that experience in order to crack the regular rotation along the Patriots’ defensive line, too.
Since he signed with New England in January, the Patriots have added a few more lineman to an already-stacked group, including veteran defensive tackle Tommy Kelly. So, Armstead knows he’ll need to prove he belongs.
“They don’t care where you came from, it’s what you do when you get here,” Armstead added. “I’m here now, and I have my opportunity. So, I just have to show what I can do now.”
He’ll get his first chance to show just that this weekend.