Justin Bethel giving New England Patriots teammates information on Baltimore Ravens, Starter jackets
New Patriot Justin Bethel had some jackets to give to some of his new teammates
FOXBOROUGH – Give Justin Bethel credit. The New England Patriots’ new special teams ace knows how to get on the fast track to locker room popularity.
Upon joining the Patriots, an associate of his reached out to tell him about a contact at the apparel company Starter and offered to send some jackets.
Bethel shared the wealth of warmth with his new teammates. The royal blue zip-ups with old school Patriots font across the front and the Pat the Patriot logo on the left arm were very popular.
Ten days ago, Bethel was a Raven getting ready to play New England, but now he’s handing out Patriots gear.
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“Hey I’m all in,” he said.
Under the NFL’s complicated draft pick compensation rules, Bethel, a former special teams Pro Bowler, was cut last week to protect a fourth-round pick, even though coach John Harbaugh was disappointed to cut him loose.
“Very tough, very tough. I mean, that’s a decision that was made, and sometimes you make decisions based on long-term ramifications,” Harbaugh said on a conference call with New England media Wednesday. “I think in the short term, it’s not something that helped us. It’s a good player that we don’t have anymore. Ironically, he ends up there, who we’re playing next, and I think that’s just kind of the way that the Lord works sometimes. But, it wasn’t good for us as far as a short-term football thing.”
Because the Ravens were on a bye last week, Bethel was beginning prep to face New England before he was cut and then joined them. The Patriots and Ravens play Sunday at 8:20 p.m.
“It’s definitely weird. Before I came up here we talking about coming off the bye and going to play the Patriots,” he said. “It’s definitely strange. I was with those guys all through OTAs, training camp and the first half of the season. So It will definitely be interesting going back up there. I’m sure they’ll have something dialed up for me. They know how I play. They’ve seen me in practice. It’ll be interesting.”
Bethel, 29, spent six seasons in Arizona and one in Atlanta before joining Baltimore this year. He appeared in over 70 percent of the Ravens’ special teams snaps in each of the first seven games this season. He said the transition to playing in New England hasn’t been too difficult.
“It wasn’t too crazy. Obviously I’ve been playing special teams for a long time. It’s kind of the same thing,” he said. “Run down on punt, run down on kickoff. Try to make a tackle, cover. It’s trying to learn the environment more so than trying to change my play. I think I did pretty good. I’ll try to get better as the year goes on.”
He wasn’t sure how much he’d be asked to help prepare for Baltimore, but he was ready to assist if called up.
“If they ask me something I’ll help where I can,” Bethel said. “It’s been great.”