The New England Patriots never seem to go away. The final four football teams remaining in the hunt for the Super Bowl will include the Indianapolis Colts and the Patriots in the AFC Championship Game. Jonathan Casillas for one is quite grateful for the trade that brought him from Tampa Bay five games into this season.
The African-American/ Puerto Rican linebacker out of Wisconsin in his sixth season has already been where most of the players engaged want to be. In his first season, he was undrafted as a result of a knee injury that caused most to shy away. He was signed as a free agent by the New Orleans Saints. He recovered an onside kick in the Super Bowl Saints win over the Colts 31-17.
However, only 27, injuries has since shadowed Jonathan, costing him a starting position when he hurt his foot in 2010. He signed with Tampa Bay in 2013 but another knee injury four games from the end continued to frustrate him.
But New England gave him a new lease on life by trading for him five games into the 2014 season. He has responded by starting three of them and with 18 tackles and strong play has contributed to the cause. “I thought if I worked hard enough, I could play special teams.” Casillas admitted.
“I thought I was athletic enough that I could at least contribute, run down the field and make a couple plays, hit some people. I had no idea that I was going to be able to play.”
But after their comeback win over the Ravens, Casillas and the rest of the Patriot linebackers were already getting complements from a team that defined defensive excellence.
They have big, fast linebackers, starting with [Jonathan] Casillas, and you can look at the whole group as far as the defensive backs.”
Jim Harbaugh said.
Now, Casillas will be staring at Andrew Luck, the man who took over for Peyton Manning, the man who led the Colt team he was victorious over for Super Bowl honors in 2009. So, now healthy and at full speed, Casillas looks to return to a place where it all started in his professional career, coming full circle he hopes.