Here are some of my favorite excerpts:
- Ochocinco later made an obvious reference to his 10 years with the Cincinnati Bengals: “I’m serious, you don’t understand. After what I’ve been through, this is heaven.”
- On another part of the field, defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth(notes) was similarly overjoyed, beaming as he signed autographs and talked about what it was like to be in New England after two lost years with the Washington Redskins.
- “The expectations here, the way things are run, this is how it’s supposed to be,” said Haynesworth, who clashed with Redskins coach Mike Shanahan on a daily basis last season. “The way things were going [in Washington], I almost lost faith in myself, in my ability to play. The environment was so negative. It was just such a down place.”
- Ochocinco put on a show. By his own admission, he practiced harder than he has in at least four years (“No doubt,” he said, without hesitation). The challenge of pleasing his new coach and quarterback is evident.
- “It’s everything,” Ochocinco said, “not just what you see on the field, it’s how we work in meetings. Every little thing has to be right or you’re getting ripped. Everybody gets ripped, even Tom [Brady], me, everybody. In Cincinnati, nobody ever said anything to Carson [Palmer]. Not here, because that’s the expectation. I love it. They expect perfection. You don’t hear the coaches saying, ‘Good play.’ That’s what you’re supposed to do.”
- Haynesworth echoed that: “I’ve been around some really good teams, like that year  we were 10-0 in Tennessee. But this is another 20 percent above that in terms of what everybody expects. We had a great coach in [former Titans coach] Jeff Fisher, but Belichick is beyond even that. He doesn’t let anything slip through the cracks. Not one little thing. It all has to be right.”
- Kraft’s impression of Haynesworth is decidedly counter to public perception. “When I sat and talked with him, I never would have believed it was the guy I had read about,” Kraft said. “He’s bright, he’s engaging.”
- After a group interview Tuesday, one reporter called him [Haynesworth] “affable.”
- “The difference is everything,” Ochocinco said. “It’s not just what you see on the field. I saw it in the first meeting. I was like, ‘Yeah, this is how a team is supposed to be run. Finally, I get to really be part of that.’ ”
- [Belichick] practically scoffed at the idea that Haynesworth could be his greatest coaching challenge. “I’m telling you, we’ve had some guys,” said Belichick, his voice trailing off to emphasize the point. “Now, I know it’s only been a few days, but I would definitely say, so far, so good. I would say there were other players I have coached that within 24 hours … it started. You knew it wasn’t going to work.”
As for the 33-year-old Ochocinco, his sense of relief is constant. He talked about the morning last week when agent Drew Rosenhaus texted him, “Emergency, call ASAP.” “I’m thinking, ‘Yeah, what could this be?’ ” Ochocinco said, sarcastically. “I called Drew and he said, ‘[Bengals owner] Mike [Brown] has agreed to trade you to New England.’ I just dropped the phone and started crying. I was just bawling. You know how it is on draft day when you finally get selected. It was like draft day all over again.”
- Driven by that emotion, Ochocinco is doing everything right. He stayed after practice with Wes Welker(notes) to catch extra passes from Brady and didn’t leave the field until talking to Belichick (the two became oddly close during the Pro Bowl in 2007). On Wednesday night, he already looked in sync with Brady on some important plays.
I’m not exaggerating when I say that I could’ve put even more quotes than that in. Like, it’s hard not to get excited, or to get over-excited, about having two of the most talented players join your team and say that they’ve never been more motivated, excited, or hard-working in their careers. Throw in the fact that your team finished last year with the best record in the league, and still has the unanimous MVP and the Coach of the Year (plus 3 Super Bowl rings each), and you should understand my excitement.
Seriously, I haven’t read quotes from athletes that showed this much hunger since Curt Schilling came to the Sox in 2004. And we all know how that worked out. If you need any more evidence that this Patriots team is REALLY worth getting excited over, the Sox and Yanks start a three-game series tonight tied for first-place, and I’m talking about the Patriots fucking training camp! Let’s fucking goooooo!!!!!