Brandin Cooks and the Saints seemingly parted on less-than-ideal terms, but he says all is good between him and the team that drafted him in the first round three years ago.
Speaking on a conference call with reporters Wednesday, the new Patriots wideout -- acquired along with a fourth-round pick from New Orleans in exchange for a first-rounder and a third-rounder -- was asked if he demanded to be traded.
"Oh boy, no, I didn't," Cooks said. "That was a long process. And I guess, if we could set this straight, I think a lot of that and what was going on got taken out of context and a little exaggerated.
"Throughout the process I felt like I had to take the blows and keep my mouth shut, which is fine. It just happened to be a great opportunity for both sides to be able to do what they want to do, and to be sent off to a good team for me. I think it's a win-win situation and like I said, the rumors out there and what's been going on and what's been (said), I don't let it bother me. I'm just here to play football and that's what it's all about."
Cooks had a very productive 2016 season for New Orleans, reeling in 78 passes for a career-high 1,173 yards and eight scores, but he and the team seemed to have a bit of a falling out late in the season.
After not seeing a pass thrown his way in a 49-21 win over the Rams in Week 12, he said, "I feel like the opportunities will come. But at the same time this is a very emotional game, and every once in a while you have to express that, and you have to express what you want. Closed mouths don't get fed."
In New England, Cooks figures to be one of Tom Brady's top targets but not necessarily the top target on a week-to-week basis. He'll be competing for attention with the likes of Julian Edelman, Rob Gronkowski, Chris Hogan, Dion Lewis, James White, Malcolm Mitchell and others.
Cooks seemed to grasp that and spoke about how fortunate he was to have the opportunity to play in New England -- all while making sure to point out that he had nothing but appreciation for his former club.
"I was thankful for the opportunity to be able to play in New Orleans and the opportunity they gave me there," Cooks said. "No bad blood. I loved everything about the organization and the people. Things just happen in this life.