FOXBORO, Mass. — Day 2 of New England Patriots training camp is usually saved for stories from bigger names than Devin Lucien. But Lucien has quite a tale to tell since he was waived by the Patriots last September with an injury designation.
Let’s first rewind to late August, when it seemed the Patriots 2016 seventh-round pick had a shot to crack the team’s 53-man roster after a strong training camp that concluded with a five-catch, 96-yard, one-touchdown performance in New England’s preseason finale against the New York Giants. But Lucien was cleated and tore the skin that covered his Achilles tendon in the third quarter of that game, and after receiving stitches he could barely walk. So the Patriots waived him, placed him on injured reserve and then released him with an injury designation three days later.
Lucien caught on with the Indianapolis Colts but his foot came down with an infection after his first practice. He spent weeks on the Colts’ injured reserve list then was released again.
Lucien then briefly spent time on the Kansas City Chiefs’, Houston Texans’ and Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ practice squads. He was released by the Buccaneers in May and was sitting at home in Los Angeles when suddenly two teams came calling.
Lucien had a workout scheduled with the Packers and was ready to fly out to Green Bay at 3:50 p.m. on Sunday until complications with his flight itinerary delayed him. While on the way to the airport, Lucien’s agent told him the Patriots wanted to schedule a workout after he was done with the Packers.
Then plans suddenly changed.
The Patriots released safety David Jones and wanted to sign Lucien without working him out. Lucien’s 3:50 p.m. flight to Green Bay turned into an 11:55 p.m. flight to New England.
Don’t worry, Devin didn’t have to stay at the airport for eight hours. His mom picked him back up, he packed and left for his latest opportunity, which is where he wanted to be in the first place.
“I think the greatest thing about being here first was trying to compare why New England is the
way they are,” Lucien said Friday. “Being able to travel to different teams and different states I was able to grasp that. And that’s why it was such a blessing to get the call back here because I love the way things are run here. I know people kind of get scared away by the Patriot Way, but when it’s the first thing that you learn you kind of get accustomed to it. And that’s what I was able to do the first year and a half I was here and that’s what I hopefully plan to do the rest of my career.”
So, what’s different in New England?
“I don’t want to say strict, but everyone knows what they’re doing,” Lucien said. “Everyone comes with a common goal. I think in other places — no offense to any NFL player — but I think people are more worried about their checks and things like that. I think people come here with the mindset, ‘You know what? It is what it is. We all got to care of what we do on the field and that will make it better for us off the field.’ And I love that mentality about this place.”
And Lucien had no problem re-acclimating to the Patriots’ playbook after trying to learn four other offenses last season.
“It’s like when you meet your first love,” Lucien said. “You always remember that first love. I haven’t had that many problems with the playbook. I think the biggest thing is getting back in Patriots camp shape. That’s what I’m trying to do now.”
Thumbnail photo via Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports Images