New England Patriots rookie running back Sony Michel has been absent from practice since Aug. 1 as he recovers from a reported knee injury, but he took a few minutes Friday afternoon to chat with NESN.com as part of a promotional interview for the video game “Call of Duty: Black Ops 4.”
Michel wouldn’t answer specific questions about the injury or how long he expects to be sidelined, but the first-round draft pick did say he still feels “very involved” with the team despite missing the last 12 practices.
“Oh, yeah,” Michel said. “And I think most of the growing — yeah, we do a lot of growing on the football field, but most of the growing for me right now is in the meeting room with those guys, just sitting back, listening, focusing as much as I can on what the coaches are saying and the players’ feedback.
“I think that’s the most important part — the players. Hearing from guys like James White, Brandon Bolden — guys that have been here for so long and have a lot of experience. You can just learn so much from those guys. So I feel very involved.”
Early in training camp, Michel singled out While as a role model to him and praised the Patriots’ running back room as a whole for helping him adjust to the NFL game.
“(They’re teaching me) everything,” the 23-year-old said. “First of all, learning the system — how they run things here. Also learning how to watch film and study film more, because that’s a very important part of the game that I hadn’t done much in the past. But at this level, knowing your opponent is very important, and those guys do a great job of teaching me that. And just having somebody like a big brother that I can talk to. If I have a question, I can always approach those guys.”
Michel, who has yet to suit up for the Patriots this preseason, said he’s excited for his NFL debut, whenever that may be.
“It’s always fun to just get out there and play football,” he said. “That’s what I’m here for. That’s what I enjoy doing. That’s what I love doing.”
In partnership with the developers of “Call of Duty: Black Ops 4,” the ex-Georgia star participated in an event earlier this month that gave his former Bulldogs teammates a chance to play the game more than two months before its official release Oct. 12.
“I thought it was pretty cool — pretty funny just to see certain guys’ faces,” Michel said. “And I knew it was amazing for those guys, especially being in camp and getting that time to just have some type of team bonding together. I got texts from guys. They were just excited about it. …
“I enjoyed when guys came and gave back to us, so I thought it was important to just give back to the team.”
Michel calls himself a big “Call of Duty” fan.
“Every chance I get to get away from the game of football, I’m probably up on the sticks a little bit,” he said. “… ‘Call of Duty’ is one of the best games you can compete in.”
Michel said he hasn’t challenged any of his current Patriots players in “Call of Duty” yet but plans to once the new game releases. He’s been teasing Cleveland Browns running back Nick Chubb — his former teammate, roommate and gaming partner at Georgia — since getting his hands on an early preview.
“I had to rub it in his face a little bit,” he said.
Thumbnail photo via Brian Fluharty/USA TODAY Sports Image