From Bulls to Belichick: 'Tremendous' for T-Mac
Tyrone McKenzie would have liked to hear his name perhaps a round earlier, but beyond that, the former USF linebacker is elated by his future in the NFL after being selected by the New England Patriots in the third round Sunday.
"It's the best thing that could have happened to me -- this is the best team in the NFL," said McKenzie, who watched the draft from his family's Riverview home. "It's always been a dream of mine, and now I'm living it. This is a tremendous honor for me."
The Patriots had shown interest in McKenzie before the draft, flying him up to Boston to meet with coaches, including head coach Bill Belichick. Several teams had told him and his agent they had him graded as a second-rounder, so he was disappointed when he wasn't taken Saturday night. That frustration disappeared when Belichick called him two picks before the Patriots' choice Sunday afternoon.
"I was ready to be off the board," said McKenzie, who points to an injured hamstring that kept him from working out in the past two months as factoring in his draft position. "But everything happens for a reason. There's not a team in the NFL I'd rather be playing for."
Playing in New England will afford him the chance to learn from veteran Tedy Bruschi, and he's familiar with last year's first-round standout, Jerod Mayo, because they have the same agent. He's already buying in with the Belichick secrecy, saying that the Patriots have asked him not to share exactly where he'll be lining up at linebacker -- the early reports out of Boston say he'll play inside, but McKenzie's played both in his college career.
"Wherever they have me playing, I'm going to go in and try to earn the respect of my teammates," said McKenzie, who leaves Thursday for his first rookie minicamp. "And Tedy Bruschi is one of the best linebackers to play the game. It's not just how he plays, but how he leads, how he is a leader on that team. I want to learn everything I can from him."
-- Big sweep for USF baseball this weekend, taking three games at home from West Virginia, which came into the weekend just a game behind the Bulls in the Big East standings. Sunday's 9-6 win, coupled with a 13-12 loss by Louisville to Notre Dame, gives the Bulls a three-game lead for first place in the Big East with nine games to play ...
-- One more McKenzie link -- here's the full transcript of his interview with the Patriots media after being drafted ...