Settling in on a new team midseason isn't easy, but for New England Patriots wide receiver Mohamed Sanu, the transition to a different locker room should be a little easier given his relationships with some of the veteran players in Foxboro.
Sanu was acquired by the Patriots in a trade with the Atlanta Falcons on Tuesday. He played college football at Rutgers, and his time with the Scarlet Knights overlapped with two Patriots defensive backs -- Devin McCourty and Duron Harmon.
"I think from a personal level, knowing us won’t help him on offense or learn the playbook," McCourty told reporters Wednesday. "But, I think when you get somewhere and you’re trying to acclimate, whether it’s family coming up, or where you want to live, I think it always helps to have guys you know and guys that know you personally. That can help you out and can kind of figure out the whole lay of the land.
"Like I’ve always said, there’s a lot that goes into being a football player that isn’t the playbook and being on the field, but having everything worked out in your personal life. And when you move to a whole new state and new area, you’ve got to figure some things out, so I think we’ll try to help him out with those things."
What will Sanu bring to the field when he makes his Patriots debut?
"I love him because he’s always been tough," McCourty said. "He’s been a really good receiver in the NFL, but I always say he came to Rutgers as a safety. I was at corner; I was excited. You know, you get this big kid that can run and hit, and I think he’s taken that to the offensive side. Physical guy. Each time we played him, we talked about him being a bigger guy who'll line up in the slot, line up outside. So, I’m excited just to see him. It’s not often you get guys – I guess for me, it’s happened quite a bit, with my brother and now Sanu – guys that I actually follow and keep up with. So, it’s a fun time just to have that personal relationship."
The Patriots host the Cleveland Browns in a Week 8 matchup Sunday afternoon at Gillette Stadium. Sanu won't know the whole playbook by Sunday, but he should still feature in the offense, especially with veteran wide receiver Josh Gordon unavailable to play after he was placed on injured reserve Wednesday. Sanu's versatility -- his ability to play in the slot or outside -- gives the Patriots more flexibility with their playcalling.
How long it will take Sanu to get comfortable in the offense is unknown, but McCourty is confident he'll work as hard as possible to reach that point.
"(He's) one of the hardest working guys I got to be around when he was a young guy at Rutgers, so I’m excited just to see him here, and I know he’ll do well in this environment because of his work ethic and playing together in college, what we experienced together," McCourty said. "I’m excited to see him here."
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