James Ihedigbo Excited to Earn First Career Start in Surprising Fashion Against Former Team FOXBORO, Mass. — Patriots safety James Ihedigbo reveled in the symbolism of his first career start Sunday.

The former UMass star and native of Amherst, Mass., spent his first four NFL seasons with the Jets, who opted against re-signing him during the offseason. When Ihedigbo found out Sunday morning that he'd make his first start against those Jets, he immediately called his mother, who gave him one heck of a pep talk and told him to make the most of his opportunity.

"Of course, it's kind of storybook," Ihedigbo said. "Being in the NFL, this is my fifth year now, getting my first start against a team that thought I wasn't good enough to play for them."

Ihedigbo was credited with six total tackles (four solo). The other stat that mattered: He had 15 tickets for friends and family who got to see the most extensive defensive role of his NFL career.

Ihedigbo said there's no ill will toward the Jets for their decision to part ways with him, but it's all about pride.

"No, not any ill feelings at all, because it's part of the business," Ihedigbo said. "But nonetheless, you still take it personal because you have to value yourself as a player that can play at a high level in this league. The only way you do that is by proving that on Sundays."