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August 23, 2012 @ 12:49 pm
Current rating: 4.00 Stars/2 Votes

Underwood Not Bitter, But Appreciative For Year With Pats

Written by Dory
Dory LeBlanc


Beat Writer E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Tiquan Underwood spoke to PewterReport.com during open locker room about reuniting with his former teammates, being appreciative for his year with the Patriots, and why he isn't bitter about being released the night before New England's Super Bowl XLVI appearance. Underwood also shares his thoughts about the upcoming roster cuts and how he handles it by playing the best football he can. 
The Bucs and Patriots have spent the two days in joint practice sessions at One Buc Place before their preseason game Friday night. For members of both teams,  last Wednesday and Thursday have been a sort of reunion, whether they were college or NFL teammates. For Tiquan Underwood, it was a reunion of both.

Underwood, a standout wide receiver at Rutgers under Greg Schiano, played last season with the Patriots before infamously being released the night before their Super Bowl XLVI appearance. While in New England, Underwood played with Scarlet Knight team mates Justin Francis, Devin McCourty, and Alex Silvestro. Ironically, signing Silvestro to the active 53-man roster was the reason for Underwood’s release in February. Most people would feel seeing their former team in such an intimate setting would be bittersweet; being around old team mates is always a positive situation, while being face-to-face with the man who cut them before the biggest game of their life would leave a bitter taste in their mouth. Underwood, however, holds no grudge against Bill Belichik or the Patriots organization.

“To be honest, I can attribute this offseason to being in New England.” Underwood said. “Going up there, playing with those guys I learned how to be a pro, I learned how to work on my craft, and my time up there – I wouldn’t trade it for anything.”

That class is something that Underwood has shown ever since his release happened. To this day, Underwood speaks only positively about the situation and the Patriots, something Underwood said he attributes to the way he was raised.

“[It was] Just my upbringing.” Underwood said. “I was raised by my aunt and my uncle and they always taught me to respect people and respect the situation. In that certain situation, the coach had to make a call for the best of his team and he did that; I couldn’t do anything but respect it.”

When it comes to the reunion itself, Underwood thoroughly enjoyed being around his old friends and team mates and looked forward to Friday night’s matchup at Raymond James Stadium.

“It’s unbelievable. To have some of your best friends also be in the National Football League, guys I played with in college, it’s always fun. And the winner against one another actually gets some bragging rights, so it’s been a nice battle and I’m looking forward to it tomorrow.”

On the field during the two days, one of the biggest one-on-one matchups has been Underwood and McCourty, and the hunt for the bragging rights between the two will continue tomorrow night.

“Oh absolutely, we went at it quite a bit yesterday (Wednesday).  Not as much (today), but Friday it’s for real, so I’m looking forward to that.”

Underwood has had a solid outing this past month and was one of the NFL’s biggest stars preseason Week 1 after his 76-yard, three reception-performance in the opener against Miami. The upcoming four days are crucial as first roster cuts are due August 27th 4:00 pm – from the current 90-man limits to 75. Although Underwood has outperformed several offensive players over the last month, it would be understandable if Underwood still found roster cuts nerve-racking, especially given the way he left New England. Instead, Underwood chooses to use that experience as a learning tool.

“To be honest, when I was a younger player my first few years I would get nervous about cuts coming up and final cuts,” Underwood said, “but now I’m at the point in my life where, just go out there, put your best foot forward and whatever happens, happens. You can’t worry about things you can’t control.  You just go out there, play well and let the chips land where they may.

His positive attitude, classy demeanor, and impressive play could have Underwood’s chips land on the 53-man roster in Tampa Bay. But if they don’t, for whatever reason, Underwood will pick himself back up and continue to fight for his dream.

“Everything does happen for a reason, and it’s always going to be some good that comes out of it.” Underwood said. 
Last modified on Saturday, 25 August 2012 18:05

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  • avatar

    I like the guy. Met him at the night practice. He has a great personality. Should be a great addition, hope he makes it.
  • avatar

    What a steal. I hope he sticks. He is going to give Stroughter and others a run for their money.
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