Leigh Bodden Goes ‘Michael Jordan’ in Patriots Secondary

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Leigh Bodden Goes 'Michael Jordan' in Patriots Secondary FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — New York got burned by No. 23 again, and Leigh Bodden rocked a Michael Jordan jersey just to rub it in.

The New England Patriots cornerback had three interceptions during Sunday's 31-14 victory against the New York Jets at Gillette Stadium, and he rocked a Jordan throwback jersey — in the road red with "Chicago" in cursive — during his postgame news conference. Bodden switched to No. 23 when he signed with the Patriots last offseason in a tribute to Jordan.

"I love Jordan, man," said Bodden, who wore No. 28 with the Cleveland Browns and Detroit Lions.

The jersey earned a chorus of cheers as Bodden strolled out of the Patriots locker room, with one player shouting, "Yeah, Jordan, that's how you do it."

Clearly, Bodden picked the right day to bring the jersey to work. After all, you can't go out and let a receiver burn you for a couple touchdowns and wear a Jordan jersey with a straight face. That's where the Michael Olowokandi throwback would come in.

Bodden's three interceptions were a career high and also tied the Patriots' franchise record. The seventh-year corner took his first interception 53 yards for a touchdown that gave the Patriots a 7-0 lead. It was his first career pick-six and second career touchdown.

"I pretty much knew I had six," Bodden said. "I just had to beat [No.] 6, [Jets quarterback Mark] Sanchez, so I just had to beat him to the end zone, and I thought I had enough speed. My teammates try to say I almost got caught, but he barely got a hand on me."

Bodden was in a nice rhythm with Sanchez, who threw four interceptions and also lost a fumble on the day. Bodden tied Jets wide receiver Jerricho Cotchery and tight end Dustin Keller with three catches off balls thrown by Sanchez, and Bodden was Sanchez's leading receiver at halftime.

This, obviously, would not have been the day for Sanchez to wear a Jordan jersey. He might have preferred a New York Knicks throwback in the Stephon Marbury model.

Bodden's first two interceptions came as the result of bad throws by the rookie quarterback, but Bodden left his receiver to pick off his third pass, which helped the Patriots ice the victory. The Jets trailed 24-14 and had just taken possession at their own 48-yard line, but Bodden did his part to halt New York's momentum.

Nonetheless, Bodden's teammates were already ribbing him for cherry picking some of Sanchez's lousy lobs.

"I didn't know today was Dec. 25," linebacker Adalius Thomas said. "I mean, three fair catches? But I mean, great, it's very rare to get a day like that, so hats off to him."

"I think it was a conspiracy or something, with three wide-open fair catches, two were on a knee, one was right there to him and he ran it in for a touchdown," linebacker Pierre Woods said. "He had a great game. As a defensive back or any other player, you wish you could have a game like that."

Bodden has five interceptions this season, one shy of his career high in 2007 with the Browns. His three picks Sunday were more than he had in four entire seasons, and it matched the production he had in 2005.

His Jordan-like performance helped validate the season he is having with some statistical backing. When a cornerback is having a solid season, quarterbacks don't typically throw in his direction, so Bodden's pre-Thanksgiving feast was a welcome meal dished out by Chef Sanchez, who was in the holiday mood with his sharing ways.

"[Sanchez] has thrown some balls to guys, and we definitely knew we could probably get some of those," Bodden said. "We just had to catch them. That's what one of my old coaches said. ?You've just got to catch the ones they throw to you,' and we did today."

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