When defensive tackle Lawrence Guy joined the New England Patriots as an unrestricted free agent in 2017, he was little more than a journeyman: over the first six years of his career, the former seventh-round draft pick had played for four different teams and never been able to carve out a permanent role. In New England he did just that, and quickly established himself as a reliable centerpiece of the team’s defensive front.
Fast forward to the spring of 2020, and to Guy being able to call himself not just a Super Bowl champion but now also a member of the Patriots’ Team of the 2010s. The club announced its all-decade squad for 2010-2019, and Guy, despite so far spending just three seasons with the team, was one of two defensive tackles to make the cut alongside long-time Patriot and potential future Pro Football Hall of Famer Vince Wilfork.
Speaking to the New England media on a video conference call shortly after the announcement was made that he had earned a spot on the prestigious team, Guy expressed his appreciation for receiving the honor. He also used the opportunity to reflect on his career and what he had to do in order to find success within the Patriots. The foundation of this success was quickly found: hard work and dedication.
“Going through what I went through at the beginning of my career to now, it shows that a lot of hard work and dedication can lead to a lot of ways,” Guy pointed out. “And it shows that other players who are in my shoes now and are going through their process in the NFL that they can achieve something if they put their mind to it. They can achieve their goals and their dreams to be recognized at being a good player.”
“Success comes from what you put in,” he continued. “I would say the Patriots gave me the opportunity to showcase my talent and gave me the opportunity to spread my wings more. But all that being said, you’re only as good as the work you put in. If you’re not going to put in the work, you’re not going to put in the time to get better and to constantly improve yourself, you’re really not going to accomplish any of your goals and dreams.”
Guy arrived in New England in 2017 via a four-year, $20 million contract. While he had shown solid stretches of play as a rotational defensive tackle for his previous team — the Baltimore Ravens, for whom he played from 2014 to 2016 — he elevated his game to a new level upon joining the Patriots: appearing in all 55 possible regular season and playoff games over the last three years, he became one of the team’s most valuable defenders.
“Being with the Patriots, what they do is they see the goal and they push you,” Guy said. “That’s what you want: you want to be pushed harder and harder. But they understand the aspect of how you play and how you’re developing and work with that. They want to make sure you’re able to reach your full potential. I felt like I joined at the best time in my career, I felt like that gave me the opportunity to spread my wings and to continue to grow as a player and a teammate and leader.”
Of course, one player does not make a team, and multiple members of the Patriots’ All-Decade defense played alongside Guy since 2017: linebackers Dont’a Hightower and Kyle Van Noy made the cut, as did cornerbacks Stephon Gilmore and Malcolm Butler, as well as the safety-pairing of Devin McCourty and Patrick Chung. Guy pointed out that playing alongside proven players such as them — as well as others — also contributed to his development and the culture as a whole established in New England.
“If you look at it, it means that people put in their time on and off the field, in the classroom, were good teammates, on and off the field,” Guy said. “You can just see how they truly helped other people and how their game is going to improve everyone else’s game — how the person coming in is going to see them; ‘I want to be like them, I want to learn their path.’ Not everything is roses, there’s a little bit of hard work that gets put into it.”