Patriots Report: Q & A with Mike Lorenz

The intense battle for roster spots occurs in New England just as it does in many other camps around the league. Teams bring in players that might fit into their system, putting them through drills trying to gauge their ability to fit into their system. PI spoke with one Big Ten lineman during what turned out to be his final day with the Patriots to ask him about the process of trying to make the team.

Q & A with Mike Lorenz
By Rick Popolizio

Beginning of Interview:

ML: I was released earlier today, but this was a great opportunity to come to play here in New England.

PI: What is the story with your dyslexia?

ML: That goes back to the third grade, so I have difficult reading, writing, spelling, and it's always been a problem I've had my entire life. It's kind of amazing I graduated from the University of Wisconsin with a 3.1 GPA. My whole goal was to play D-1 football and play in NFL. So I'm living my dream and doing the best I can to make it. I've gone through hardships, ups and downs with money, faced adversity every day but overcome it.

PI: Is dyslexia still affecting your daily life?

ML: Yeah. Just reading a book and writing out a check. You don't know how to spell the words. It's all turned around.

PI: So how did you do so well in college?

ML: I always went to class, every day I sat front row. I had tutors take notes for me and then read them to me. Stuff like that.

PI: How did you manage to learn plays with dyslexia?

ML: I studied about two to three hours every night. I make flashcards. I study, I study, I study. I really really make sure every time in meeting rooms I listen and make sure I have the cards right. I'm aware of [the disease] and I'm putting extra effort in to overcome it. That's what you gotta do in that situation. To anyone out there with a disability, you have to go beyond what a normal person does. That's what you gotta do.

PI: How else have you been able to overcome dyslexia so that it has not affected your on-field performance?

ML: I hear the plays. I don't get them mixed up. I don't think it really affected me at all. I study my butt off every night. I'd come back to the hotel and study, study, study. I memorized plays. I've overcome it through hard work. I've never given up. There's a lot of days I wanted to throw in the towel. I felt, oh gosh, how am I gonna do this, but if you just hit the books and have a work ethic and fight through it, never give up, you can do it. I used to not be a very good student at all, didn't like school one bit, but overcame that in high school and grew up. I was motivated in high school to play Division 1 football. I knew I was going to have to have good grades.

PI: Can you comment on the draft process?

ML: It was pretty crazy stuff. I didn't know what was going happen. My whole family was with me and I was later announced a free agent. It was a lot of fun, something I'll never forget. Just to have that is awesome. Some people would die for this to happen to them. I am blessed to have this experience.

PI: You went undrafted. Were you surprised?

ML: No, it was like a 50/50 chance. I wasn't that surprised. I was excited just to be a Patriot.

PI: What other offers did you receive? Why did you decide on the Patriots?

ML: We went with the Patriots really early because I thought I'd fit in really well here with the guys and the type of program. I wanted to go to the Green Bay Packers, that was my first dream. I grew up a half hour from Green Bay. But my second choice was New England.

PI: When did you know you were going to be a Patriot?

ML: Getting into the mid 7th round.

PI: Have you talked to other Badgers?

ML: That night [of the draft] we all called each other. We were all going different places. It was pretty exciting.

PI: Your teammates Dan Buenning and Jonathan Clinkscale got attention as well. Have you been talking to them? Where are they at?

ML: Every so often. They are both down in Tampa. Doing well.

PI: What do you believe are your strengths and weaknesses? Why do you feel you were released?

ML: I could not tell ya. I thought I had a really good camp here. I didn't make any mistakes. The coaching staff is awesome. I really wish it worked out. I really enjoy myself here but that's just the way it goes I guess. There's other positions they need more guys for and that's why they released me. They had to bring in other guys because of injuries.

PI: What do you think you need to improve to make this team next year if you try out again?

ML: I am getting married in 3 weeks. I have my degree. I don't know exactly what I am going to do yet. But my feet, hands, that always needs improvement man. And you can never be fast enough.

PI: If you do make the team, where and how do you think you will fit into the roster?

ML: I look at the Pats, and they all seem like blue collar workers that seem to be good guys and that's who I am too. I am hardworking, and I love the game of football and that's the way I look at myself. That's why I did fit in here when I was here. The whole O-line were just great guys.

PI: Is your release a testament to how hard it is to break into the NFL?

ML: (Laughs). Yeah. This is a tough situation I guess. It's not easy, that's for sure. There are so many people whose dream it is to make it, and so little who get there and there's a reason why. Because its very difficult. That's a great question and I don't know if I can answer it. It's just very tough.

PI: Do you think you may have had a better shot with another team?

ML: I don't know. That's also a good question. You would like to think so, but it's reality. I felt really good with this team here. I really like the coaches, guys who are right up my ally. I don't know if I could see myself playing with another team. It was really neat being here, getting this opportunity. I had a blast in mini camp and gave it everything I got. I really enjoyed it.

PI: How do you feel about being in the video game EA Sports NCAA Football 2005? What about your rating of 84 in the game?

ML: That's fine with me. That's pretty neat to say that I was in a video game. To say I got myself in a video game, I take pride in that. But the ratings are just a bunch of bologna. It's just what one person thinks. But it's pretty cool.

PI: What are your upcoming plans, in terms of the rest of the summer, working out?

ML: Getting married. Trying to live life. You only live once.

[ Editors Note: Earlier this week PI reporter Rick Popolizio spoke with former Wisconsin Badger, Mike Lorenz in what was supposed to be an interview about the difficulties of landing a spot with the Super Bowl Champions. It turned out that Lorenz had just received word that the team decided to go in another direction at his position. PI would like to thank Mike for spending the time to answer questions at what could only be considered a difficult time for any aspiring player trying to break into the NFL.]

Lorenz was released Wednesday June 15, 2005 along with Virginia Tech long snapper Travis Conway

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