How Newer Patriots Feel Playing In Super Bowl After Joining Team Late

BLOOMINGTON, Minn. — There are 10 players on the New England Patriots’ 53-man roster who didn’t spend training camp in Foxboro, Mass.

Among them are three linebackers, three wide receivers, a cornerback, quarterback, defensive end and defensive tackle. NESN.com asked all 10 players how fortunate they felt to be playing in the final game of the season after starting camp with a different team not in Super Bowl LII.

Let’s go through a timeline of when and how those players were added to the roster before they help the Patriots on Sunday against the Philadelphia Eagles.

LB MARQUIS FLOWERS
The Patriots traded a 2018 seventh-round pick for Flowers on Aug. 29, so he actually was on the team for one preseason game. Flowers explained that he requested the Cincinnati Bengals to release or trade him because he wanted a greater opportunity.

It was one of the best trades the Patriots made all season. Flowers has emerged as a valuable defensive contributor as the Patriots’ most athletic linebacker. He’s also heavily contributed on special teams.

He’s a free agent after the season.

“Very fortunate. Very fortunate,” Flowers said. “Fortunate to not only be moved but to be traded to an organization like this. All I can be is thankful. Thankful that the Patriots were interested in the Bengals trading me to the Patriots. I’m thankful in both ways. Just took off from there, and as soon as I got here it’s hard work. Hard work turned into the opportunity to be world champions. That’s what we got is the opportunity. Got a couple more weeks to work hard and get better at my craft, at what I’m going to do and what I’m going to do to help my team win and put my best foot forward.

CB JOHNSON BADEMOSI
The Patriots sent a 2019 sixth-round pick to the Detroit Lions for Bademosi on Sept. 2, the day of roster cuts.

Bademosi served as valuable cornerback insurance while Stephon Gilmore and Eric Rowe dealt with injuries. He’s also been a core special-teams player.

He’s a free agent after the season.

“We have a great opportunity to — at the end of the day, I think it’s a blessing to be in the position I’m in right now,” Bademosi said. “I’m not in control of everything. A lot of things are left up to chance and left up to god, but it’s a blessing to be in position — it’s a blessing to get the opportunity to play in the Super Bowl.”

WR PHILLIP DORSETT
The Patriots traded third-string quarterback Jacoby Brissett to the Indianapolis Colts for Dorsett also on Sept. 2.

He played 15 games as the Patriots’ No. 3 and 4 receiver, catching 12 passes for 194 yards. He saw his playing time spike when wideout Chris Hogan suffered a midseason shoulder injury. He also has one 31-yard catch in the postseason.

He’s signed through 2019.

“Very fortunate,” Dorsett said. “We’re the last guys standing — us and the Eagles. I mean, basically you go home, and you see social media, you see all your friends out just training, doing this, doing that, on vacation. It’s like, ‘No, I’m still playing football.’ It’s amazing to me.”

QB BRIAN HOYER
Hoyer was released by the 49ers on Oct. 31 when the Patriots traded backup quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo to San Francisco. It’s been theorized that part of the reason the Patriots dealt Garoppolo to the 49ers was because they knew they could get Hoyer, who was with the team from 2009 to 2012.

He’s signed through 2019.

“I feel so fortunate — once things went down the way they went down — to be back here,” Hoyer said. “One of the deciding factors for me was to be back to a place where I was so familiar with. Obviously to be back with a great team that had the opportunity to be in this game. Now that we’re here, it’s been a crazy ride, but it’s been three months since I’ve been here, and obviously hopefully we have one more in us to go out and win on Sunday, because it’s already been worth it as it is, but to go out there and do that, it would really put the cherry on top for how things worked out.”

DE ERIC LEE
The Patriots signed Lee off the Buffalo Bills’ practice squad Nov. 21 after they released Cassius Marsh, who was acquired for two draft picks from the Seattle Seahawks on Sept. 2.

Lee recorded 3.5 sacks, a safety and an interception in six games with the Patriots, five of which he started.

He’s signed through 2018.

“Very fortunate,” Lee said. “There’s only two teams left. Got one more game to give it our all for the outcome that we’ve all been working towards.”

LB NICHOLAS GRIGSBY
The Patriots signed Grigsby off the Baltimore Ravens’ practice squad Nov. 28 to bolster their special teams. He proved to be a spark on punt and kick return coverage units, throwing his body around to make big plays. He recorded five special teams tackles in five games.

He’s signed through 2018.

“It’s amazing,” Grigsby said. “Things like this just doesn’t happen often. I’m just enjoying this moment and just preparing for the Super Bowl. Just going to make the best of it.”

DT RICKY JEAN FRANCOIS
The Patriots initially signed Jean Francois on Nov. 7 after the defensive tackle was released by the Green Bay Packers six days earlier. He was released Dec. 2 then re-signed Dec. 13. He has since leapfrogged Alan Branch on the Patriots’ depth chart.

He’s a free agent after the season.

“I’m fortunate, blessed to be still here,” Jean Francois said. “I could be home on the couch chilling, not doing anything, watching these guys play, which is amazing to know all the hard work and dedication and everything I’ve put focus into. I’m still here, and I’m getting the opportunity to be playing in the Super Bowl with a franchise like this.”

WR KENNY BRITT
The Patriots signed Britt off the street Dec. 13, five days after he was released by the Cleveland Browns. He caught two passes for 23 yards in three games.

He’s signed through 2018.

“Oh man, very fortunate,” Britt said. “Words can’t describe it to tell you the truth. I’m taking it all in day by day and every second of it. I’m going to make it worth my time here.”

LB JAMES HARRISON
The Patriots received a late Christmas present when they signed Harrison on Dec. 26 after he was released by the Pittsburgh Steelers on Dec. 23. Harrison recorded two sacks in his first game with the Patriots. He started the AFC Championship Game and has six tackles in the postseason.

He’s a free agent after the season.

Harrison is not a man of many words.

“Fortunate,” Harrison said. “Very.”

WR BERNARD REEDY
Reedy had a roller coaster season. He was waived by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Nov. 17 and was signed to the Patriots’ practice squad Nov. 22. He was added to the active roster Dec. 2 then waived Dec. 13. He was re-signed to the practice squad Dec. 19 before being released Jan. 3. He was re-signed to the active roster Jan. 17 but hasn’t suited up in a postseason game.

Reedy had four punt returns for 32 yards in two regular-season games.

He’s a free agent after the season.

“I just feel blessed,” Reedy said. “I take it every day at a time and just glad I got the opportunity to keep playing football.”

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Thumbnail photo via Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports Images

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