Funny, hearing a former Colt call New England "a perfect fit." But that's just what Anthony Gonzalez did on Tuesday.
"Just from being in the NFL and being on the other side of that rivalry for a while. There's not a hatred or anything, it's more of a respect," he said. "And as you learn more about the teams you're playing, especially this one, you get an appreciation for how they do things -- just the way it's run and that sort of thing."
Beyond a love for the East Coast -- this northeastern corner in particular -- Gonzalez said he targeted the Patriots during free agency for an obvious reason: winning.
"The one thing about this place that I knew when I signed is they're going to bring in great players. It's not like they bring in one or two guys and hope for the best -- and that's at every position, not just wide receiver. There's excellent players on this roster all over. That's part of it. There's going to be competition everywhere."
Ideal concept, strange reality.
Gonzalez can bootlick New England all he wants, but he knows it will take more than two weeks to consider this "home." If he makes the team, this will be the first year in six he'll be fighting with, instead of against, the Patriots.
"It was weird. Like, just now, walking down that way was odd, for sure," he said, pointing to the route he took from New England's locker room to the turf. "I've never seen the stadium from this vantage point. But it's a great facility. I will say everyone's been ... very welcoming. "
"Despite what they told me in Indianapolis, everyone's been really nice here."
Gonzalez is naturally wry. He employed humor often during the media meet, quickly assessing where there was opportunity and exercising his wit at will. Like when asked what he did for Super Bowl XLVI.
When the Patriots, Giants, and their frenzied devotees invaded Indianapolis for Super Sunday, Gonzalez was one month removed from a zero reception season with the 2-14 Colts. Hard to imagine that February day was a blast.
"I was sitting on my couch in Indy," he recalled with a rueful smile. "I told Coach Belichick when I spoke to him I was probably one of the few people outside of this area of the country that was rooting for the Patriots."
Of course, he wouldn't have admitted as much had Tom Coughlin come calling this spring. Better to keep his mouth shut in that instance, Gonzalez noted.
"It's more what you don't say then what you do say sometimes."
Sounds like a Patriot already.