Back in August, the New England Patriots surprisingly waived backup quarterback Bailey Zappe during roster cuts.
After clearing waivers, the second-year passer had a market, as NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero reported at the time that seven other teams showed interest. Zappe, however, chose to rejoin the Patriots.
Appearing on WEEI’s Jones and Mego on Monday, he explained why.
“I felt like for me, my best opportunity was to learn from Coach Belichick, to learn from Coach [O’Brien], and I felt like that was the best fit for my career: to stay here,” Zappe said.
“Have the opportunity to play. Have the opportunity to stay with these guys that I’ve built relationships with. And I think the main thing was to just learn from the coaches that we have here. I think that was the best fit for my career and for the future — for whatever happens for me.”
Opportunity for Zappe struck 96 days after his release, as he took the field Sunday against the Los Angeles Chargers as the Patriots starter. It marked another chapter in a turbulent three months for the 24-year-old, who relied on his coaches and his veteran teammates throughout the journey.
“Part of my role on this team now is to be a mentor and then here for guys, it doesn’t matter who it is, it doesn’t matter what position, it doesn’t matter the situation,” Matthew Slater shared of his conversations since the summer with Zappe.
“I mean, I’m 38 years old. How old is Bailey, 23, 24? It would be a shame if I didn’t use my experience both in the game of football, but in the game of life to be a resource for him, to support him. Obviously, him and I have a really good personal relationship and I was happy to walk with him through some of those things.”
“Slater’s been in this league a long time,” Zappe added. “Just picking his brain on little things on the field, off the field and just learning from him. Not a bad person to learn from.”
The next step of Zappe’s journey should come Thursday night, when he likely will be back under center as the Patriots take on the Pittsburgh Steelers. After getting shutout in his first start, Zappe is hoping for better results in primetime.
“Looking back, there’s a lot more things that I can learn from and grow from,” Zappe said. “But that’s the great thing about where we’re at right now. We got these next few days to get back at it in practice and learn from it and get ready for Thursday.”