Lawrence Guy is used to moving around. He’s grown accustomed to introducing himself to new faces, whether it be players, coaches, equipment staffers, trainers, or even chefs.
"I've been around the league a couple of times," Guy told reporters on his introductory conference call Thursday. “This is my fifth team, so adjusting was just something I had to get used to after my third team. When you go to a new organization, you really just want to get the faces of everybody around the building."
Guy, who turns 27 on Friday, stands six seasons into his NFL career. He’s resided in the NFC North, the AFC South, the AFC West, the AFC North and now the AFC East. But should the defensive lineman’s new contract with the New England Patriots hold true to its parameters, there won’t be another change of scenery coming anytime soon.
That is, other than where he puts his hand on the ground.
The Patriots signed Guy to a four-year pact worth up to $19 million last week. And given the track record, his versatility up and down the line figures to have played no small part in why the club made him a free-agent priority.
“Through my career I've been down the whole line, and that made me who I am today,” Guy said. “I was able to play outside then play inside. If I needed to go back outside or go back inside, it all depends on how the system needs me to play and I'm able to adjust to it.”
Guy has had to adjust to changing schemes and teams since entering the league as a Green Bay Packers seventh-round draft choice in 2011. The Arizona State product’s first NFL season was spent on injured reserve and the start of his second began on the practice squad. And in October of 2012, the 6-foot-4, 305-pounder was signed to the Indianapolis Colts’ 53-man roster and went on to appear in his first regular-season game less than a week later.
A one-year stint with the then-San Diego Chargers followed in 2013 – after Guy was claimed off waivers from Indianapolis – and it concluded as he found himself claimed off waivers again in 2014.
But Guy went to on have a longer stay with the Baltimore Ravens than his previous stops in Green Bay, Indianapolis and San Diego. It was with the Ravens that he learned under former Patriots defensive coordinator Dean Pees, as well as longtime defensive line coach Clarence Brooks, who passed away last September at the age of 65 following a battle with cancer.
"If you look at my time in Baltimore, all our D-linemen, we all switched around different positions," Guy said. "So due to that and due to the coaching under Clarence Brooks, he made sure we could play every single position that we needed to play. He built me into a well-rounded player."
Well-rounded and well-traveled now, Guy’s time in Baltimore consisted of 45 tackles, 5.5 sacks and one forced fumble over three seasons, 17 starts and 43 games.
Through his 1,212 cumulative defensive snaps there, he forged opportunities at nose tackle, three-technique defensive tackle, five-technique defensive end, and outside the tight end.
It is on the interior that Guy should see the bulk of his snaps in New England, where the depth chart is currently stocked with the re-signed Alan Branch as well as Malcom Brown, Vincent Valentine, Woodrow Hamilton and Darius Kilgo. Yet Guy, who prides himself on his work ethic in addition to his versatility, has been able to find his place before.
He intends on bringing that to wherever he aligns moving forward.
"I want the person playing next to me, behind me, to count on me if they know that if I need to be there, I'm going to be there," Guy said. "If I know they're going to be there, they can trust that I'm understanding the game. I'm understanding how everybody plays. It's one of those things that I pride myself in. I'm going to go out there and you're going to know every single play I'm going to give it my best, and every single play there's no doubt that you're going to look at me like, 'OK, he's a good player and I see he wants to go out there and play some football.'"