Mesko goes from Brady fan to teammate

He speaks four languages, but when told the punter's stall is next to Tom Brady's in the New England Patriots locker room, Zoltan Mesko was rendered speechless -- briefly.

"Oh, wow," Mesko said.

Mesko, the Patriots' colorful new punter, is a native of Romania and the son of a former pro bowler (not a Pro Bowler) who emigrated to the U.S. when he was in middle school.

Mesko became a huge Brady fan when he enrolled at Michigan, Brady's alma mater.

"Well, that's the crazy part, transitioning from being ..." Mesko said, his voice trailing off moments after being drafted by the Patriots in the fifth round. "Tom Brady, from a fan's perspective, is my favorite player in the whole NFL, just because he has that Michigan tie, and he's done such a great job overcoming being drafted in the sixth round.

"It's crazy how much he's done and how many people he's proved wrong. That's my philosophy in life. I get motivated more about the negative things that are said about me. I like to prove myself that way. I'd love to model myself after Tom Brady, so maybe getting to know him a little more will help that mind-set."

Brady was selected in the sixth round, 199th overall in 2000. The Patriots drafted Mesko 49 slots earlier than they took Brady.

A reporter asked Mesko if he would bring that up to Brady.

"I was just thinking that, but I didn't want to mention it," Mesko said. "No, no. I won't. It's not about how you start. It's how you finish."