Faith In Britt

Wesley Britt is a man of faith, in his religion and in himself. He spent the 2005 season on the practice squad of the New England Patriots after being drafted (5th round) and released by the San Diego Chargers. An excellent training camp earned him a spot on the active roster with the New England Patriots and some limited playing time as a backup the first few games.

By the fourth game of the season against the Cincinnati Bengals, Wesley Britt's faith was rewarded as he was inserted as the starting right tackle for an injured teammate. He continues to be part of the offensive line rotation with his ability to play either tackle position.

After the New York Jets game at the Meadowlands in East Rutherford, New Jersey, we met with Wesley to talk about his football career and other aspects of his life.

Arnold P. Steadham for ‘BAMA: What were your expectations when you were drafted by the San Diego Chargers in 2005?

Wesley Britt: I really just expected to go out there and give my best every day. That's all I've been about since my freshmen year at Alabama. I just want to get better every day and give it my all. Whatever happens is what's meant to be.

APS: Can you describe the transition from Alabama to the NFL?

WB: It's been a transition of baby steps. I have to keep on improving and getting better. It's a different game. It's an awesome experience. It's been a great opportunity for me.

APS: What's been the most difficult part of the transition for you?

WB: I have to continue to look forward and keep getting better. It's not a question of being difficult. It's about experience and gaining some valuable experience every time I get a chance to be on the field.

APS: What are your impressions of New England Head Football Coach Belichick?

WB: He's a great coach. The Super Bowls explain it all about him. He wins.

APS: What are your impressions of New England?

WB: It's a nice area. I like the area. The people are great. Great fans. It's (Gillette Stadium) pretty similar to playing at Bryant-Denny. They know a lot about the game and they get pumped up when they tailgate. It's a really good experience. One of the best in the NFL.

APS: What were some of your favorite experiences at Alabama, on and off the field?

WB: The sense of family and the tradition at Alabama is so rich. The whole experience was great. My two brothers and I had a chance to play together on the same team. We won some big games there.

APS: Have you had a chance to watch your brother Justin play this year?

WB: I had a chance to watch him play Hawaii because we had a couple of days off. I look for big things out of him. He's a great player. He's got a great attitude and great body position. He's physical. He loves to play football.

APS: What would you like to tell the current players at Alabama and your brother, Justin?

WB: I just tell him to go out and give it your all. Really enjoy the experience. It's a special time in your life. It's a great thing playing at Alabama. It's a great thing playing in the state and at Bryant-Denny. Just keep getting better every day.

APS: What would you like the people of Alabama to know about playing for Coach Mike Shula?

WB: He's a winner. I guess that's the one thing I want everybody to know about him. He loves to win games. He loves the school and the state of Alabama.

APS: Do you keep in contact with some of the former players?

WB: I talk to a lot of the offensive lineman that are still at Alabama. I talk to Evan Mathis (Carolina Panthers) and Justin Smiley (San Francisco 49ers) about every couple of days. We are still close. I see players like Shaud Williams (Buffalo Bills). I talk to Brodie Croyle and a couple of different players. We're a tight group.

APS: What would you like to say about Evan Mathis?

WB: He's a great guy. He's a guy that brings his lunch pail to work every day and wants to get better. We've had a lot of good experiences. We lived together for two years. We know too much about each other to start saying anything (laughing).

APS: How is the leg you broke playing against Tennessee?

WB: I'm great now. I had the one leg broken against Tennessee and then I broke my other leg during the Senior Bowl. It's fine. Everything is coming together this summer. I had a great off-season.

APS: Who were some of your role models growing up?

WB: Reggie White. I was a defensive lineman in high school. He was always a huge role model of mine, being a Christian leader. He always brought it whenever he played football and I admired that in him.

APS: Did you ever have to meet John Hannah?

WB: I met him at the Hawaii game in Tuscaloosa. We had a chance to go on the field before the game. He was a model. Everyone talks about him up here (New England). He played a lot of good football.

APS: What are some of your outside interests?

WB: I like to hunt and fish. There is some great hunting and fishing up in New England. We had a chance to go deep sea fishing with a couple of the guys. Our offensive line is real close. During the summer, we had a cook out just about every weekend. We do a lot of good things together. We go out to eat together on our off days and hang out. It's a really cool experience here in New England.

APS: What are your future aspirations?

WB: As far as football is concerned, I just want to keep getting better. I want to see where my place is here with the Patriots in the NFL. I've got some other things happening back home that I keep working on business wise.

APS: What did it mean for you to wear the crimson and white?

WB: You walk out of this stadium (the Meadowlands) and you see the retired number of Joe Namath. We played at Green Bay and you see Bart Starr's number. To drape the crimson jersey over my shoulder. It's the same thing. It's about tradition.

Below is a partial transcript of Bill Belichick's October 6, 2006 press conference, during which Coach Belichick discussed Wesley Britt:. Provided by Jeff Cournoyer, Corporate Communications Coordinator of the New England Patriots.

Q: Can you talk about the strides that Wesley Britt has made?

BB: He's come a long way, similar to other offensive linemen that we've had in our system through the years. Wes came in last year and was on the practice squad. He had a long way to go. He had a good offseason. He had a really good offseason. He was in good shape relative to the start of the spring camps this year and training camp, meaning he had studied up on our system and really worked on a lot of his individual techniques and fundamentals in the offseason with Dante [Scarnecchia]. As the spring camps went on, and in training camp, he improved quite a bit and he's a much better football player than he was last year. He's worked hard, both at his physical training and also his techniques at his position. That hasn't been anything uncommon around here, but still it's a credit to him that he's improved as much as he has because he certainly wouldn't have been able to do this last year at this time. He just wasn't as confident as what he has grown to be now and I think he has a good future ahead of him. He's still an improving player and Wes works hard and he's tough and he has some position flexibility. He played left tackle in college and has been playing both here for us and played right tackle last week. It's hard enough to be able to play one tackle, but to have a guy that has the ability to at least be competitive at both tackle spots, that creates a lot of value for him and your team.

Q: How does he compare, in terms of where he is now, to Ryan O'Callaghan?

BB: I would say in general terms it's comparable. They're a little bit different players. I think they have a little bit of a different playing style and strengths. I think they're in the same ballpark.

Q: When you say different styles, can you elaborate?

BB: For one thing, Wes played left tackle his whole career at Alabama and Ryan played right tackle his whole career at California. Wes has shown that he can play on the right side competitively. I don't think Ryan has shown that he can play on the left side competitively. I'm not saying that he can't, but to this point he hasn't really done it and he really hasn't had an opportunity to do it. I don't know that he's going to get that opportunity in the near future. Just as an example on versatility. Ryan is big and he's not as tall. He probably has a little more girth. Wes is a little more linear and that changes some of their athletic skills that kind of go with that body frame and build. I think they're comparable. Both tough. They both work hard. They're both pretty smart. They're both pretty durable in terms of being able to stay out there on a pretty regular basis. They've been able to take a lot of snaps and keep going.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Arnold P. Steadham covers former Alabama athletes now in professional athletics for ‘BAMA Magazine and BamaMag.com


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