Akeem Ayers’ season could have been worse.
Ayers, who was selected by the Tennessee Titans in the second round of the 2011 NFL Draft, was traded to the New England Patriots in October. The Pats, of course, are preparing to face the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl XLIX while the Titans are watching from home after a 2-14 campaign.
“They made a decision that they felt like they needed to make,” Ayers recently told the Providence Journal. “I don’t have any hard feelings. I just took it as motivation and especially being here on this team. I feel like they did me a favor, honestly. I really don’t have any hard feelings for them. I have a lot of close friends on the team and I still talk to them. It’s nothing personal. I came here and I did a good job here and we’re going to the Super Bowl.”
Ayers has been a solid contributor for New England since being acquired before the team’s Week 8 game against the Chicago Bears. He collected four sacks in nine regular-season games and provided a major boost to the Patriots’ pass rush in the absence of Chandler Jones. It’s hard to imagine things would have gone so well for Ayers personally if he stayed in Tennessee, as the Titans rarely used the 25-year-old linebacker.
“It means a lot to me,” Ayers said of preparing for the Super Bowl. “Especially being a fan of football since I was a young kid, just watching every single Super Bowl. It means a lot. … It would mean much more especially if we go out there, play how we’re supposed to play and get a win.”
So, was being traded to the Patriots like winning the lottery?
“I guess you could say that,” Ayers told the Providence Journal when asked that question. “I guess it kind of feels like that, going from like worst to first. I guess you could say in a sense, yeah.”
Thumbnail photo via Stew Milne/USA TODAY Sports Images