How Patriots DT Terrance Knighton became a Boston sports fan

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- First-year New England Patriots defensive tackle Terrance Knighton has been a longtime Boston sports fan.

"I think when you’re born in Connecticut, at birth you have a choice -- either Yankees or Red Sox -- and I chose to go with Boston," Knighton explained during his introductory Patriots conference call Wednesday. "I’m a big Boston Celtics fan, Red Sox, Bruins, obviously Patriot fan growing up."

Knighton was born in Hartford and attended Windsor High School and Milford Academy. He then went to college at Temple before playing in the NFL for the Jacksonville Jaguars (2009-2012), Denver Broncos (2013-2014) and Washington Redskins (2015).

Along the way he hasn't shied away from sharing his rooting interest for Boston's professional sports teams, most recently the Celtics.

On Wednesday, Knighton said, "I’m really excited about the Celtics right now, the playoff push. Hopefully when I get in town, I can catch a few games."

As for the Patriots, Knighton said it means a lot to him and his family to play home games in nearby Foxborough, as he thinks he'll have the most ticket requests of anyone in the locker room.

"I just felt like it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to play for a team that obviously I loved to watch playing growing up," he said, adding that he started paying closer attention to Patriots players when he was in high school.

"Vince Wilfork, Willie McGinest, Tedy Bruschi, and just those leaders on defense and guys that won games and won Super Bowls -- the Rodney Harrisons -- the guys that were great leaders on and off the field and were role models for me growing up and guys that I modeled myself after on the field, like a Vince Wilfork," he said.

"Obviously, big shoes to fill and me being a big guy and playing nose tackle, people will look for me to be like a Wilfork replacement but I’m not thinking about that. I’m just going to come in and work hard every day and just try to create my own niche in the organization."