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Johnson Bademosi thrust into spotlight with expanded role on Pats' D

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Through the first five weeks of the season, Johnson Bademosi hadn’t been in much demand from a media perspective. Outside of his arrival shortly after a trade with the Detroit Lions, when he had a sizable media crowd around his locker, Bademosi had mostly flown under the radar during his time with the New England Patriots.

That dramatically changed over the past five days.

Bademosi was unexpectedly thrust into the starting lineup for the Week 6 victory over the New York Jets -- a result of Stephon Gilmore being added to the injury report the day before the game (concussion) and not traveling -- and he could be back there again Sunday night against the Atlanta Falcons.

So picture the scene in the Patriots’ locker room late Thursday afternoon as a crowd of 15-20 reporters gathered Bademosi and the sixth-year pro held court on everything from his expanded role on defense, his rugby background, and how he ended up at Stanford (“some guy named Jim Harbaugh called me”).

CB Johnson Bademosi, who started in place of injured Stephon Gilmore on Sunday and could do so again vs. the Falcons, draws a big crowd in the locker room. Asked how he ended up at Stanford, he said with a smile, "Some guy named Jim Harbaugh called me..."

Mike Reiss, ESPN Staff Writer

After playing 73 of 76 defensive snaps, in addition to 14 special-teams snaps, no player was on the field more. Up to that point, Bademosi hadn’t played a snap on defense this season.

How tired was he afterward?

“I felt like I played a whole game,” he said with a touch of humor. “I love playing football, so I’m going to out there and empty myself. … I had fun out there.”

Bademosi credited the Patriots' coaches for preparing him, and highlighted the trust with his teammates that led to solid communication.

His work was lauded by head coach Bill Belichick and others.

“Very impressive,” noted safety Devin McCourty, one of the team’s captains. “Saturday morning he came in and it kind of accelerated from there. I thought he did a great job of asking questions. But I think honestly the most work he did was probably with just himself jumping into the film, watching more stuff to exactly see.

“You know, when you’re a backup, you’re kind of trying to see everything because you don’t know what role you might be thrust upon once you’re in the game. But I think once he knew he was starting, it was kind of like, ‘All right, let me focus in on this.’

“I thought he did an awesome job of just being ready and competing," McCourty added, "and then he still had to do his job on special teams, so he played a good amount of plays Sunday and stepped up big for the defense.”