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Cordarrelle Patterson's philosophy: 'You have to smile it out'

Cordarrelle Patterson has brought an upbeat approach to the Patriots since the team acquired him in a trade from the Raiders in March. AP Photo/Charles Krupa

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Cross paths with sixth-year wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson in the New England Patriots' locker room, and there's a good chance he's smiling. In addition to explosive kick-return ability, he has brought an upbeat approach to New England since the team acquired him in a trade from the Oakland Raiders on March 19.

"I'm a happy guy, man," Patterson said at his locker, which is a few away from quarterback Tom Brady. "I'm always ready to have fun. No matter what the situation is, you have to smile it out."

As for the impression the 6-foot-2, 228-pound Patterson has made on teammates and coaches on the field, Bill Belichick seems to like what he's seen.

"He's come in and done everything we've asked him do," Belichick said. "He has different skills than some players that have played his position, so we'll see how it goes."

The 27-year-old Patterson played 16 offensive snaps in the Patriots' season-opening win over the Houston Texans, finishing with one catch for 6 yards, and one kickoff return for 19 yards. A native of Rock Hill, South Carolina, he is pleased his football journey has led him to New England.

When he first started playing football: "When I was 6 or 7, just going out and having fun and enjoying it. I always tell this story: I was hanging out in the house and my mom wanted me out of there. She had me play football. So she got me out of the house, and now she got me in the NFL. It worked out for both of us."

Role models in his life: "My mother and my sister. Growing up, they were always there for anything I needed. My brother, I always wore his clothes. They did everything they could to make sure I did everything the right way."

Favorite players growing up: "I didn't really have one, but one player I always looked up to was Randy Moss. All the receivers, really. Moss, Cris Carter. Jerry Rice. It makes you want to be one of the best. I also liked Donovan McNabb, because I used to like the Eagles. Duce Staley. Troy Vincent. Jevon Kearse. They had a great team."

Top memories at Northwestern High School (Rock Hill, S.C.): "A lot of them. We were down 22-0 in the first round of the playoffs, in a game we expected to win. We came back to win, and that was a good memory, one that you don't forget because you're getting your [butt] spanked but come back to win."

Enrolling at Hutchinson Community College (Kansas) for two years: "A great experience in my life. I wouldn't change it for anything. It taught me how to be a man, first time being away from my family, 22, 24 hours away [by car]. You're doing your own laundry for the first time, all those things."

Going to Tennessee for one season: "Tennessee! First game of the season, Kickoff Classic, Chick-fil-A game. I went in and had two touchdowns and 200-300 all-purpose yards. It was the first time you're hearing the 'Rocky Top' song played, the first time the fans fell in love. I never can forget that moment."

First-round pick of the Vikings in 2013 (No. 29 overall): "I really didn't know what was happening. I was going to stay another year, but probably had to leave because I don't think my grades were very good. Teams tell you when you visit, ‘We're going to draft you this pick -- 5, 10, 25, 30.' A lot of teams went by and we were sitting there at the 27th, 28th pick coming up, and I was like, ‘I'm ready to go.' I was in the greenroom [at the NFL draft] and walked to the bathroom. It was stressful, and coming out of the bathroom, the phone rings and it was [general manager] Rick Spielman. That's when my whole life changed again."

Signing with the Raiders as a free agent in 2017: "We had a lot of hype with the team, as they had won 12 games the year before, and I was excited to play with Derek Carr, Amari Cooper, Michael Crabtree, Marshawn Lynch, and the whole offensive line was amazing. But things didn't go the way we thought it would be. God makes things happen for a reason, and that led me to be traded here."

Reaction to being traded: "It was the day after my birthday and I got the call from my agent. I think they wanted to trade me on my birthday, but they were like, ‘We won't do him like that.' I was with my daughter, a newborn, about 10 days old, and that's when I found out. I was like, ‘Let's go!' I had friends with me at the time, my girlfriend, and everyone was excited. Who wouldn't be excited to come here? The history this organization has. No matter where I am, I'm going to have fun, enjoy myself, but being in a place like this has taught me a lot of things I didn't really know about myself. And I like it. All these guys around here are going to push you to the limit."

What he loves about football: "The excitement it brings to the fans. When I make a play, I don't hear the fans. But when it's over, and all the fans are cheering, that's a great feeling. We do it for our family -- I have my three F's: faith, family and football. You can never forget about that. And I'd add the fans -- putting a smile on their faces, especially the kids, that's amazing. Who are we without the fans?"

Summing up his football journey: "I think it's going OK. There is a lot I still can do, a lot more football still left in me. A couple years from now -- hopefully 10 more years or something like that -- I hope I will have accomplished everything I need to accomplish in football."