"Competition. Great competition," New England Patriots cornerback Kyle Arrington said. "With [Patriots coach] Bill [Belichick], whoever is playing well, that's who is going to play. There is no favoritism with Bill.
Those were the words out of Arrington's mouth in a recent interview conducted by ESPN Boston's Mike Reiss.
All throughout the 2010 season, the Patriots had great cornerback play out of rookie Devin McCourty and Arrington.
However, enter the third wheel: Cornerback Leigh Bodden.
Bodden, who was slotted in as the Pats' No. 1 corner, missed all of last season due to a torn rotator cuff in his right shoulder. So, McCourty stepped up as the team's top corner and meanwhile, after a little trail and error, head coach Bill Belichick found decent play out of Arrington.
Thanks to the NFL lockout, players are not allowed to workout with team conditioning coaches or at team facilities, so players have to workout on their own—and that's what Arrington and Bodden have been doing, as they prepare themselves for a competition.
Who will be the Patriots No. 2 cornerback in 2011? Arrington or Bodden?
Bodden, who has been with the Patriots for two seasons, played terrifically in his first year as a Pat. He played in 15 games and had five interceptions and 19 pass deflections—good enough to be New England's No. 1 corner.
With Bodden's strong play in 2009, he earned himself a contract extension for four years and worth $22 million.
As Bodden went down in 2010, Arrington stepped up and played in all 16 games for the Patriots, starting the majority of them. He recorded one interception and five pass deflections.
No one is sure who will be the team's starting corner on the opposite side of McCourty.
Entering the 2011 draft, if Belichick can get his hands on a cornerback like Miami's Brandon Harris or Nebraska's Prince Amukamara, then the competition will certainly become much more fierce.
Arrington, who's going to be 25 in August, also told Reiss how he plans on getting even better.
"I'm going to try to come out better next year. It was a great learning experience this year and I am going to try to build on that and be even better, which I know I am capable of being."
It sure will be an interesting training camp to decide who will be New England's No. 2 corner back.
Like Arrington said, Belichick will play "whoever is playing well," and that "there is no favoritism with Bill."