The getting-to-know-you process continues remotely for Adrian Phillips.
But the veteran safety, who signed a two-year, $6 million pact with the New England Patriots in March, has gotten settled in an offseason without traditional organized team activities.
“That’s a testament to those guys,” Phillips said in a recent interview with Patriots.com’s Megan O’Brien. “To embrace me the way that they did and to just treat me like I’ve been there for so long and not even meeting me face to face. So, it’s a huge testament to them. It’s a huge testament to the coaches. Just showing that they’re people that just really want to know the best of you and just really want to see what type of person you are, to embrace you and bring you into the winning culture. It’s real cool to be a part of that.”
Coaches are permitted to return to practice facilities around the league as of Friday. To date amid the coronavirus pandemic, only injured players receiving treatment have been granted access.
Those in Phillips’ camp await.
“Looking for a new team, free agency can be a stressful time for some players,” Phillips told O’Brien. “And actually getting on this team, it felt like it was a weight lifted off my back. Now you can just focus on football and then one thing after another, it starts pounding on you. You just try to find some light in the world and some joy and just take it day by day.”
Since going undrafted in 2014, the Texas Longhorns product has appeared in 64 career games and made 24 starts. Phillips totaled 251 tackles and a pair of forced fumbles while a member of the San Diego and Los Angeles Chargers. From the linebacker box to center field, he defended 18 passes and intercepted five.
Pro Bowl and first-team All-Pro recognition on special teams met Phillips in 2018. That campaign would also bring a January visit to Gillette Stadium for the AFC divisional round.
More frequent visits are ahead.
The 28-year-old Phillips is among eight safeties on New England’s depth chart this spring. Devin McCourty, Patrick Chung, Terrence Brooks, Malik Gant and Adarius Pickett remain. Fellow veteran free agent Cody Davis arrives. As does No. 37 overall pick Kyle Dugger out of Lenior-Rhyne.
“It’s a first-class organization,” added Phillips. “You notice that from a far and you wonder, ‘How does that keep happening?’ So, actually being in the mix, you see that. Being in the meetings with the guys and with the DBs, you see why they’re always in the position that they’re in. It’s just great to be a part of.”