Phone call from Bill Belichick sealed deal for undrafted RB D.J. Foster

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- The New England Patriots didn’t select a running back in the NFL draft, then signed just one as a free agent afterward -- Arizona State's D.J. Foster.

A phone call from Bill Belichick closed the deal.

“I was talking to a few teams at the time, but when I got the chance to talk to Coach Belichick, I kind of took a step back and talked to my family, figuring out what’s right for me in my life as a young adult,” Foster relayed Wednesday at Gillette Stadium. “I thought it was the best decision for me.”

Foster said he only had about 5-10 minutes to make his decision to sign with Patriots.

The 5-foot-10, 193-pound Foster was a hybrid receiver/running back at Arizona State, but his initial work with the Patriots has come at running back.

From a traits perspective, Foster’s quickness and change-of-direction skills are notable, as his 6.75 time in the three-cone drill was tops among wide receivers at the NFL combine. His short shuttle (4.07) and 60-yard shuttle (11.12) also ranked first among receivers.

At Arizona State, he appeared in 53 games and finished with 222 receptions for 2,458 yards, while adding 2,355 rushing yards. He said playing both positions helped him become a better player.

In his time answering questions from reporters on Wednesday, Foster repeated how fortunate he feels to have an opportunity to play in the NFL, specifically with the Patriots. His initial emotion of achieving his lifelong dream was captured by an Arizona television station, which was filming him as he made his decision to sign with New England.

That video has been liked by more than 1,000 on Twitter.

“Amazing,” Foster said of the reaction. “I was walking away to kind of get away from my family, so I could have a private phone call. I forgot I was miked up. It ended up being good, just so people understand where I was coming from. This process does mean a lot to me. Being a part of this organization does mean a lot to me. I was very excited.”

Foster said he doesn’t have any disappointment of not being drafted.

“I knew it was going to be a long process, and if my name was called in the third, fourth, fifth, it didn’t matter. It’s a blessing at the end of the day to come to this level, the National Football League and play football,” he relayed.

“I was so excited to reach that accomplishment in my life, even though it’s time to start over and go to work again. I just soaked that moment in, got to tell my family and being able to tell my grandma about that moment and share that bond with them, it was definitely a special moment.”

Now comes the hard part, attempting to become the next undrafted free agent to emerge in New England.

“They have so many guys that kind of were unheard of that made a name for themselves in this organization through the years,” he said. “I know that is an opportunity for a lot of guys to make a name for themselves.”