KYLE ARRINGTON SIGNING PRESS CONFERENCE
Defensive Coordinator Dean Pees
Opening statement: "We're really excited to have Kyle [Arrington] be part of the Ravens family. I got to know Kyle a little bit, [because] my last year at New England was his first year coming in there, so we had a little bit of time together. Plus, the fact that his [former] secondary coach – coach [Josh] Boyer – was my quality control guy there at New England and was also an assistant coach for me when I was a head college coach [at Kent State], we have a little bit of background there. Kyle really is, I think, a great get for us. He is a multiple – to me – type of defensive back that can play safety [and] can just do an awful lot of things for us. I think his experience having played in really, really big games and the biggest game is of great value to us. This isn't a guy that's coming in here with little experience. He has a lot of experience, a lot of starts. I don't keep up on … You guys know how many starts and all that stuff. It doesn't really matter to me. This guy is a great football player. He's going to really add a lot to us, going to add competition at corner for us. The other thing about it is – and I think sometimes people forget – the fact that he's going against a really good offense every day in practice [is important]. You think about game experience and all that stuff, well to me, we gain a lot of experience out of here every day in practice going against Joe Flacco, and he has had the experience going against Tom Brady for six years. How valuable is that every day? That makes you pretty doggone good. I couldn't be more excited to have him here and welcome him. When I first heard his, maybe, misfortune in some ways or bad news … Sometimes when you get released by a team, it's kind of surprising sometimes how good news that is for somebody else, and I think that was great news for us."
CB Kyle Arrington
Opening statement: "Good afternoon. Coach [Dean] Pees had a lot of flattering things [to say]. He flatters me too much. Thank you, though. I definitely want to thank Mr. [Ozzie] Newsome, coach [John] Harbaugh, coach Pees. I'm just very thrilled and excited to be a part of such a tremendous, proud, winning organization – another opportunity, I should say. [I am] extremely grateful for the last six years I got to spend in New England under Mr. [Robert] Kraft, [Bill] Belichick and that franchise. I really couldn't tell you how rewarding it is to be blessed, again, to be able to continue to be part of tremendous organizations like these. As coach Pees alluded to, it's very … It can be concerning, I guess [when you are released from a team]. Initially, early on in the week, I got the call. Belichick sat me down [and] they give you reasons why certain things go a certain way, understandably so. After six, seven years, I definitely know the business part of the game, but everything happens for a reason. To be now here, to be a Raven, I'm too excited, too thrilled, and I really can't wait to get to work. As far as the decision making that went into the process – as I already stated – it was just the right situation as far as being able to come in to compete at a high level with a team that has a shot year-in and year-out. And it's very family-oriented, too – [the] environment – and I'm a very family-oriented guy. It's really just the best of all worlds, and I really can't wait to get to work."
On how being a Maryland native factored into his decision: "[It was] another big factor, as far as the decision-making process went. A lot of people rarely, seldom get the opportunity to play professional sports, let alone play for their home team. So to get this opportunity, it was a no-brainer."
On how surprised he was by his release from the Patriots: "The transactions I've experienced my years in the NFL and the ones you witness also … Things change in a hurry – I guess you could say – in this business. Nothing really surprises you at this point. I have a great team year-in and year-out. We always prepare for all scenarios, all situations, and this was the same. It's something we had prepared for, and I thought we handled [it] great. And like I said, everything happens for a reason, so it worked out."
On whether he looks forward to possibly playing the Patriots in the playoffs: "Like I said, [there are] no hard feelings. It's nothing but … I just have gratitude to have been able to have the opportunity. Of course, as far as having a chip on your shoulder as an undrafted guy out of Hofstra, I'm not really supposed to be here. Whatever people can say about me [and] criticize, I am my hardest critic. I don't try to go out there and prove anybody wrong or any naysayers. I go out there, really, just try to prove it to myself."
On whether it's strange to think about being on the opposite side of the Ravens-Patriots rivalry now: "Being up there in New England, we had a few things to say about the folks down here, and I'm sure folks down here did, vice versa. *(laughter) *So, to be on the opposite side of the fence, it'll be interesting."
On playing for the Ravens after competing against them for so many years: "I really just relish the opportunity, as far as being able to be a part of this organization. When everything went down initially with the release, my guys – like I said – they were on it doing a tremendous job [of being in] contact with a few teams. When Ozzie gave us a call, the potential to be back here in Maryland, I almost felt like – like I said – I was a kid waiting on Christmas. I'm trying to let my guys do what they have to do as far as how that goes, and I don't want to step on their toes just like they don't step on the football field or anything. But at the same time, I'm sitting there waiting by the phone like, 'OK, let's get this thing done. Let's make it a reality.' I'm too excited; family is too excited. My phone has been blowing up, obviously. To be able to – like I said – play in your own backyard and have your family and friends watching, we're thrilled."
On if he went to any Ravens games when he was younger: "To tell you the truth – I was just asked the same question doing a phoner – and to be honest, I feel like as a Marylander, you have the right to be a bandwagon [fan] whenever you want. (laughter) So, whenever the Wizards would be doing [well] – they were the Bullets, I guess, growing up – so if they weren't great, I didn't know. If they were great, I said, 'Oh, yeah!' I'm the first one rolling down my window, honking whether it's the Ravens, Redskins, Wizards, Caps [Capitals] or Orioles. I'll always root for them as long as they're winning." (laughter)
On what he brings to the table as an all-around defensive back: "Like I said, [Dean] said a lot of flattering things. I've always really considered myself [a] tough-nosed, blue-collar football player. I like to put on my hard hat and go to work. Whether it's playing outside, inside, special teams, I love it. As long as I'm on the football field and whatever the coaches ask of me, that's my job. That's my job to get done."
On his reaction to the Patriots' recent punishment: "To be honest, I'm just happy to be a Raven. Whatever situation they're dealing with up there, that's really between them and, I guess, the commissioner."
On the pride he takes in rarely missing a game: "Like I said, it goes in with that toughness factor. I remember being a rookie – my first year ever – as an undrafted guy. You go in there [and] you do X, Y, Z. [You think] you can't get hurt; you get hurt, and that could be the end of your career before it ever got started. I was telling the trainer one time, 'My groin is pretty sore; I don't know if I can go today,' so he was telling me, 'Can't make the club if you're in the [cold] tub.' That really resonated with me and stuck with me for a long time, even until this day. That's always on my mind being out there. One of the things that I felt was practice execution equals game reality. So, practice is very important. Just being able to be out there and getting experience through practice, it should become easier during the game."
On his family's reaction when he became a Raven: "It was a great day. It was a great day yesterday. My dad turned the big 6-0, so we already had plans to be out celebrating his birthday yesterday at dinner. To officially get the word as we were heading towards dinner, we had a few things to celebrate. Like I said, [my] phone was blowing up. Family and friends – everybody is excited. As you guys said, being close to the D.C. area, you have the phone calls, 'Hey, glad you're home. So, what happened with the 'Skins, though?' (laughter) But like I said, I can't be thrilled enough to be a part of this organization. Top to bottom, it's second to none."
On his thoughts of the Ravens prior to joining the team: "Like I said, very professional, as professional as it gets. And I just feel like I'm as highly favored as it gets being a part of one that was the Patriots franchise for X amount of years, and now to be able to be a part of this franchise, it doesn't get any better. I'm really looking forward to – like I said – putting on my hardhat and getting to work."