One part of the interview that stood out was when Babineaux, a former teammate of Ayers in Tennessee, shared his impressions of Ayers from his 2011 rookie season.
Babineaux: “That was Mike Munchak’s first stint as a head coach, the transition happened with Coach [Ken Whisenhunt], and then now you had to play under Bill Belichick. How was that process leading up to where you are now, because I remember when Akeem came in as a rookie, I couldn’t get the guy to do special-teams looks in practice. Then I turn on the film [with the Patriots] and see you running down and making tackles on the punt team and leading that charge. Talk about the growth and where you came from.”
Ayers: “It’s been a learning experience, just coming up as a rookie, you’re just learning the game and how things go. You take stuff from guys, like yourself, being a young guy. You learn what’s expected of you. I’m having a lot more fun and just really taking advantage of every opportunity I got to be on the field.”
A few more sound bites from Ayers’ "NFL AM" interview:
Expectations upon arriving in New England: “I didn’t really know what to expect. Just being traded to another team, midseason, I tried to go with the flow and get with a couple guys on the team. Everyone accepted me when I got there. Things were pretty much 100 miles [per hour], I hit the ground running and tried to get in the playbook. I didn’t know what position I was playing -- end, linebacker. There was really a lot going on.”
When it hit home that he is a Super Bowl champ: “It really doesn’t hit you right away. At the time, you’re full of so much emotion, you really don’t know how to act, especially in our game when we thought we were going to have to [force] overtime or find some way to win the game, and [Malcolm Butler] comes up with a huge play for us. You’re full of so much emotion; it really takes you a few days [to say], ‘Wow, we just really won the Super Bowl.’”
Preparing to face Russell Wilson: “Just trying to keep him in the pocket. He’s really good when he extends plays. It’s really hard for the guys to cover for a long period of time, no matter how good our DBs are. Keep him in the pocket, make him throw the ball on time, don’t let him extend the plays; that’s when he can really hurt you with his legs, getting out of the pocket, scrambling and scrambling to throw the ball.”