FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- New England Patriots first-round draft choice Dominique Easley tore both of his ACLs during his college career and was limited to three games this past season, which put his health on the front burner in his introductory conference call with reporters late Thursday night.
"I’m healthy," said Easley, who underwent knee surgery in October. "I’m just ready to get up there and do whatever Coach [Bill] Belichick needs me to do."
Asked if he is now 100 percent, he responded: "I’m just working to get back healthy and I’m just ready to get up there."
If not for the injuries, Easley likely would have been drafted higher than 29th. The Patriots spent extensive time with him in the pre-draft process, which included a visit to Gillette Stadium and a one-on-one meeting with Belichick in Florida.
"We talked a whole lot and got to know each other. He’s a great guy," said Easley, adding that it was a pleasant surprise to receive the call from the Patriots. "I’ve been watching the Patriots for a long time. I’m pretty sure you guys know some players from Staten Island played there and then Coach Urban Meyer had a lot of players go to the Patriots. It’s a winning team so I’m real excited."
A few more sound bites from Easley:
On getting the call from the Patriots. "I actually was [surprised]. I was real excited when I saw the Massachusetts number come up on my phone."
Surprised to be picked in the first round? "I wasn’t honestly paying attention to it, to what was going on, to what was said. I was just waiting for my dream to come true."
Playing next to Vince Wilfork. "It’s going to be a great experience, to get to learn from an old guy, a veteran that’s real good. He’ll teach me some stuff. It’s going to be real exciting to learn from him."
On comments at the combine that he doesn't watch football. "I wasn’t really paying attention to it but I love football. I love football, I love watching tape on football. I think people probably got the wrong idea and that’s about it."
Entering the NFL draft. "I have a 1-year-old son [Dominique Easley II] so I just wanted to really get a move on and try to get back healthy and continue my life ... Every decision I make is not for me, it affects my son in every which way. On the field, it didn’t really change much because my love for football has always been and always will be there. It just matured me as a man."