FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Defensive tackle Danny Shelton held his introductory conference call with New England Patriots reporters Monday afternoon, which was also an opportunity for him to introduce the reporters to Moni, Juicy, Mojo and Juju.
Call them the "The Furry Sheltons" -- and follow them on Instagram for more details.
They are Shelton's four emotional support dogs, and they have played an important role in his life. As detailed in a 2015 television profile on Fox Sports, Shelton went through the trauma and pain of being present when his brother "Skeevie" was shot and killed, and bringing Moni and Juicy into his life helped him move forward.
"Following my brother's passing in 2011, my family received a rottweiler puppy from a family friend -- I was in college at the time, but I would make it back home and see their relationship with the dog, and I'd see how it would bring them back to the old ways [of] having fun, laughing. Just bringing it back to the good times that I remembered," Shelton said Monday.
"Me being away from them in college, it was tough at the time. I also wanted that connection, that relationship. I wanted to fill that gap that felt empty from my brother's passing. I think that really pushed me towards making that decision in getting Moni, my first dog."
Shelton made the decision with his girlfriend at the time, Mara, who is now his wife.
"We both thought it would be a great opportunity to kind of mature together and add more responsibility. One dog turned into two dogs. And two dogs turned into three. Now four. We're planning on staying at four," Shelton said.
The couple was just back from their honeymoon in Bora Bora last week when they were informed of Shelton's trade to the Patriots. Moni and Juicy were naturally on board.
"They're my older pups, they're already used to traveling and everything, and they're always going to be happy wherever I go," he said. "For me, it's just that warm feeling I get coming home and seeing their smiling faces. Whenever I'm in a vulnerable position or feeling stressed out, Moni especially, she's the one who will come over, notice it and cuddle up, or will do something funny to get me distracted. It's just crazy how they know me so well, and they also know my wife as well; they help my wife out as well."
In football terms, relating to the position Shelton plays, Moni, Juicy, Mojo and Juju create an effective four-man line.
"Two girls [Moni, Juicy] and two boys [Mojo, Juju], and my boys are the crazy ones," he said.