Life has been good in Foxboro for Adrian Phillips, who rang in the New Year with a contract extension with the New England Patriots.
Asked about what made him want to stay local after the Patriots' demolishing of the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday, Phillips said that the culture played a role in his forgoing free agency with a three-year, $14.25 million deal.
"From the outside in, you kind of get this stigma about Foxboro like 'there's no fun here,' whatever it is. And then you get here and see it ain't like that at all," said Phillips, who originally signed with New England prior to the 2020 season. "It's really just hard work. You do your job, you win games, you have fun going to the postseason."
Going to the postseason with the Patriots will be a new experience for Phillips this season, as New England officially sealed up a postseason berth with Sunday's win, coupled with a Miami Dolphins loss to the Tennessee Titans.
Being coached by someone like Bill Belichick, who on Sunday tied Don Shula for the most 10-win coaching seasons in NFL history, was certainly a part of the calculus for Phillips as well.
"Being able to be coached by somebody like coach Belichick, who doesn't want that opportunity?" Phillips poised. "He's the greatest coach in the game -- to me personally. Being around his mind and his savvy and seeing how he operates, this is where I want to be."
Phillips, who turns 30 in March, joined the Patriots after six seasons with the San Diego/Los Angeles Chargers, where he was First Team All-Pro and a Pro Bowler on special teams in 2018 -- the lone player to fill the AFC teams special teams spot other than Matthew Slater since 2011. But he's taken on a much larger role on defense in addition to his continuing work on special teams in New England, playing in a career-high 81 percent of the team's defensive snaps in 2021 entering Sunday.
"This is a city built on football and I just love it," Phillips said. "It was easy for me to be able to get something worked out to stay here."