Homegrown would be a word to describe to New England Patriots’ All-Decade team.
Of the 27 players selected by the Patriots Hall of Fame Nomination Committee in April, 17 were drafted by New England and an additional three signed their first NFL contracts with the organization as undrafted free agents.
Lawrence Guy didn’t fall into either category.
But the 30-year-old defensive tackle, whose winding road to New England included stops with the Green Bay Packers, Indianapolis Colts, San Diego Chargers and Baltimore Ravens, finds himself next to Vince Wilfork on the historical depth chart.
“I’m honored to be on that list,” Guy told reporters via video conference after the 2010s roster was announced Wednesday. “Going through what I went through from the beginning of my career to now, it shows that a lot of hard work and dedication can lead to a lot of ways. And it shows other people that were in my shoes or are in my shoes now, going through their process in the NFL, that they can achieve something if they put their mind to it and they can achieve their goals and their dreams to be recognized as being a good player in people’s eyes and being that asset.”
The Patriots had agreed to terms with Guy on a four-year contract worth up to $19 million in the spring of 2017. The former seventh-round pick arrived having appeared in 67 career games with 19 starts. He received a signing bonus of $4 million.
Over the three regular seasons since then, Guy hasn’t missed a game for New England. He’s started 46 of 48 games to accumulate 178 tackles, five sacks, one interception and one forced fumble.
Guy has seen 1,624 snaps on defense and 504 on special teams during his tenure.
That March free-agent visit to Gillette Stadium, where Guy reviewed film with head coach Bill Belichick and staff, proved direct.
“Bill was like, ‘This is where we value you as a player, and we’re going to get the best out of you,’” Guy recalled. “Pretty much, that was it. He’s a straight shooter and that’s what you need to hear. He’s going to tell you the truth. He’s going to tell you how it is. That’s what he pretty much was telling me, like, ‘If you come on this team, we’re going to make you better because we’re going to push you. We’re going to make you uncomfortable.’ And when I first stepped in the door, I wasn’t perfect on the field. I wasn’t perfect in the system that we were doing, but I chose to get better every day and they challenged me consistently.”
Guy’s career high in tackles has been reset in each of his campaigns with the Patriots. The three sacks he recorded this past campaign tripled his tally from 2018 and 2017.
Guy ranked fifth among qualifying interior linemen in run-stop percentage in the process, according to Pro Football Focus.
“From the first year, to the second year, to last year, you can see the improvement in different aspects of my game because they’re never going to let you be like, ‘OK, you’re good here. That’s it,’” Guy said of New England’s structure. “They’re always going to be like, ‘Well, you’re good here. Now let’s get better.’”
Guy spent his rookie year of 2011 on injured reserve. His second began on the Green Bay practice squad before he joined the active roster in Indianapolis. Guy would be claimed off waivers by the Chargers of San Diego in 2013. Baltimore then claimed the 6-foot-4, 315-pound Arizona State product the following fall.
Guy, a Super Bowl LIII champion, is scheduled for a cap number of $5.36 million in the final year of his pact.
Fullback James Develin, receivers Wes Welker and Danny Amendola, linebackers Rob Ninkovich and Kyle Van Noy, and cornerback Stephon Gilmore stand as the only other members of the All-Decade team who did not enter the league with New England.
“Me joining, I felt like I joined at the best time of my career,” Guy said.
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