At the very least, Matthew Judon gets an "A" for effort.
The New England Patriots' Pro Bowl edge rusher has been aggressive in his attempts to recruit NFL stars to Foxboro since joining the team in 2021. Last offseason it was Odell Beckham Jr., Allen Robinson, Bobby Wagner and Chandler Jones, among others. This offseason, he shot his shot with all-world defensive tackle Aaron Donald.
While Judon hasn't been successful in those recruiting efforts, he has no plans to stop -- in part because he genuinely does like playing for the Patriots.
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"I’ve been trying to recruit people. I’ve been trying to get them to come over here with me because I really enjoy it," Judon said Monday on The Jim Rome Show. "I wouldn’t tell people to come do it if I didn’t really enjoy it."
Judon is playing the best football of his career in New England; he tallied a career-high 12.5 sacks with the Patriots in 2021, then exceed that total in 2022 with 15.5 sacks (the third-most in franchise history) to earn his fourth consecutive Pro Bowl nod.
But the 30-year-old is also enjoying life off the field, from exploring downtown Boston to relishing in the city's lively professional sports scene.
"I actually love everything about it," Judon told Rome. "I love the Boston Seaport, downtown area, and I just like the camaraderie amongst the teams. I was in Maryland (with the Baltimore Ravens), where our next closest team was in (Washington) D.C. But we get love from the [Celtics], from the Bruins, from the Red Sox -- everybody out there is showing us love, and we do it to them and just support each other. I really like that, and I really like the town."
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The Patriots aren't for everyone; many players view New England as a difficult place to play with terrible weather and an exceedingly demanding head coach in Bill Belichick. But Judon pushed back on that narrative with his own endorsement of the "Patriot Way."
"Most importantly, I love playing football. So, the Patriot Way is my way," Judon said. "I like being in the building. I enjoy the people around the building. I really just like being there."
New England was a premier destination when Tom Brady was the quarterback and the AFC Championship Game was the Patriots Invitational. The Patriots have yet to win a playoff game in the post-Brady era, however, so some pending free agents might be less inclined to embrace the "Patriot Way" if Super Bowl contention is a long shot.
That's why the Patriots need players like Judon, who arguably is New England's biggest star and appears to be the team's biggest cheerleader entering March 17 free agency.
Our Phil Perry also spoke with Judon last week on why he believes quarterback Mac Jones can be "dangerous" with new offensive coordinator Bill O'Brien. You can check out that full conversation below.