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Rookie WR Malcolm Mitchell on earning Tom Brady's respect

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NFL Media's Oklahoma Drill series presents exclusive, quick-hitting one-on-one interviews with players and coaches from around the league. No nonsense -- just football experiences directly from the source.

Malcolm Mitchell

Wide receiver, New England Patriots

Born: July 20, 1993

Experience: One NFL season

Interview by Jeremy Bergman | February 17, 2017

This [L.A. rain] is nothing compared to New England.

I kind of appreciate [the weather in Boston]. I didn't travel much throughout life, and this is the first time I actually got to see legit snow. And it's a lot of snow, but I like it.

[The parade] was phenomenal. I mean, we just went at it. I don't know how it feels to be a rockstar on stage with millions of people screaming, but that has to be close to it. I enjoyed every minute of it.

[Veteran players told me to] have fun. Let loose. It's the time to celebrate and just show the fans you appreciate them.

As soon as I got drafted, (Patriots center) David Andrews, who was the center at the University of Georgia while I was there, called me and said, "You know it's a lot of work, so be prepared." And from that time, I just kind of put my head down and grinded it out. I didn't think about how much I would play, if we would win. All I thought about was doing the best I could to be a part of the team.

I walked in thinking ['Do your job"], honestly. A lot of people want to learn, make mistakes and learn. What do they call that again? Learn the hard way. There's stuff I did learn the hard way, but I tried to avoid that as much as possible by just listening to what they were telling me.

No, I mean we just went back out there [after halftime of Super Bowl LI] and tried to play better. That's it. [We didn't change the game plan.]

I tried to as much as I could at practice. I think I made a mistake probably every day. Some days less than others. I mean Tom Brady coaches me up, tells me what and what not to do, and the whole season was truly a learning process because there were so many details that he likes and I just got to learn them.

We were winning, so I didn't care if I caught the ball or not, as long as I was doing what I was supposed to do to help the team win. But I like it when he throws it to me.

The best defense we played, for me, personally, was the Broncos [in Week 15]. It was loud, the weather conditions were bad. That's the first time it was like a true welcome to the league because you hear about or you see those cold-weather games, but you don't really know until you're in them.

[Aqib Talib and Chris Harris] are great defensive players. It was a lot of studying, a lot of preparation. Obviously, they're great. They both went to the Pro Bowl.

I don't know. I'll work as hard as I can [to make the Pro Bowl], but my focus is just to play the best I can.

I'm not a coach. I don't really handle scouting. I just catch the ball when Jimmy [Garoppolo] throws it. The one thing I can really answer is him being a great person, phenomenal and great competitor, and he definitely will earn or deserve what he gets. Whatever that is.

[The knee's] great. I feel good.

I keep forgetting about that one. I wore [the elbow brace] the entire season. ... You don't think about it. I mean, you forget about your keychain when you put it on, right?

[Rob Gronkowski and I] actually said that one time, that we're brace buddies.

Growing up, I struggled with reading. I actually didn't like it at all. I was that kid who, if I got worried that we were reading the next day in class, I probably wouldn't show up.

When I got to college, I got around my peers and kind of saw how more educated they were and how more prepared they were for certain situations, and I kind of felt inferior because I didn't have that same thought process and I immediately knew why. It's because I lacked the ability to read and kind of slowed down the competitive advantage I would have, just in life in general.

I think reading, developing "Read with Malcolm" and also writing the book ["The Magician's Hat"] has helped me understand how every detail matters, everything counts. Don't leave any stones unturned, because it can all come back if you don't do your best in every area.

Martellus [Bennett] and I talk about some projects that we work on.

[Nothing's in the works] right now. I hope so, though. ... Marty is probably one of the most creative people I've met. I don't think there's a job he can't do.

The way we ended the season, the way the entire season went, from everybody not being there the first couple games, [the moral is] just never quit. People say, "Why would you say that? You didn't lose that much." But that didn't mean we didn't fight for every win that we had.

Right now, I'm reading "Havana Nocturne: How the Mob Owned Cuba and Then Lost It to the Revolution." I haven't read much of it. It's a book suggested by someone in the Patriots organization. He said it was his favorite book, so I told him I'd read it. Honestly, I like to read anything. I like to read the news. I like to read newspapers if they're around. ... If I see a recent newspaper, I'll pick it up and read it.

I would tell the guys to have fun, to embrace [the NFL Scouting Combine]. Don't stress yourself out too much because it's something you've been doing your whole life. Go out there, have fun, laugh and dominate.

At the combine, no. ... The first time I talked with the Patriots might've been [at Georgia's pro day]. Then, I got a top-30 visit with (director of player personnel) Nick Caserio.

By taking this offseason to work as hard as I can. Man, I don't know what the future holds for anybody. I don't know what the future holds for myself. All I can control is the amount of work and preparation I put into the game, so that I can take advantage of any opportunity that might or might not come.

(Georgia receiver) Isaiah McKenzie, he's coming [to the combine]. He'll be there. I hope the best for him. I hope he really shows the scouts what he can do. There are some other guys coming out. Quincy Mauger, who's a safety. There are some offensive linemen coming out. Isaiah, being a receiver, obviously, I had a good relationship with him, but Georgia produces a lot of talent.

[I like where Georgia is going with Kirby Smart]. Coach Richt was my coach, so, of course, I love who he is as a person and as a coach. But I'll never question what UGA does, because it's part of my family.

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