FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Today was "Mike Wright Day" when it came to media coverage of the Patriots.
It started at Bill Belichick's news conference when a reporter asked about Wright's career, which began in 2005 when he surprisingly made the team as a rookie free agent. Belichick starting tossing bouquets in Wright's direction, touting his work ethic, commitment, conditioning, toughness, athleticism and versatility.
"From where he’s started, he’s really had a good career to this point," Belichick said. "And he continues to work hard and build on it. Every year, he becomes more dependable, more versatile, a guy who has more experience and uses it. Some guys gain experience and it doesn’t really seem to help. He’s a guy that gains experience and doesn’t repeat a lot of mistakes from previous years or situations."
Wright (6-foot-4, 295 pounds) is the team's projected starter at right defensive end. Should he go wire to wire as a starter, this would be a big jump for him, as he's appeared in 69 career regular-season games, with 16 starts.
Wright's nine starts last year were a career high, and his December performance in Buffalo -- in which he totaled 10 tackles and a sack -- was lauded by Belichick at the time as a performance that was as good as it gets for a player at his position.
Belichick's remarks on Monday had media members swarming around Wright, who seemed to be deflecting all praise as if he was fighting off an offensive lineman. Wright said he takes pride in working hard, knowing that was the only way he could succeed based on how he entered the NFL.
"I just try to do the little things," he said.