Originally created 01/31/05

Patriots hungry as ever



JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - They're back, probably better than ever and just as hungry to stay on top.

The third Super Bowl in four years is anything but old hat for the New England Patriots.

"You never get tired of winning," Troy Brown said. "It comes down to the willingness to win and I want to win them all if I get a chance."

The defending champions arrived in northern Florida on Sunday with a modicum of fanfare, greeted at their golf resort hotel by about two dozen fans. Not that this team requires any spotlight just yet. These guys can wait a week to grab the acclaim when it counts, against the Philadelphia Eagles for the NFL title.

But if anyone questions their desire to remain on the pro football throne, well, forget that. There won't be any complacency, they claim, because that's an approach completely foreign to the Patriots.

"Not a chance," Brown said when asked about being satisfied. "We don't think that way. There's no comfort level, no comfort zone at all.

"There are some guys on this team - Corey Dillon is one - who have not won a Super Bowl. I've got two rings, but I want to go out and play well and give a guy like that the chance to win one. You play your butt off for him to win one, too."

Not surprisingly, considering their regularity in this game - the Patriots seek to become only the second franchise, behind Dallas of the 1990s, to win three Super Bowls in four years - the Pats were relaxed and playful with the media hours after touching down in Jacksonville. Willie McGinest, a native Californian who apparently has quite gotten used to frigid New England, welcomed temperatures in the mid-50s. Brown kidded about earning more than one ring because he's played receiver, defensive back and on special teams this season.

Veteran safety Rodney Harrison was alone among the six players and coach Bill Belichick who spoke Sunday to take a particularly serious tone. Harrison was annoyed by comments from Eagles receiver Freddie Mitchell that the New England secondary wasn't all that good.

"Maybe he was drinking before he started talking," Harrison said, "because that was clearly a mistake. No one in this league would attack somebody a week before the Super Bowl.

"I don't need any extra motivation; I need something to calm me down."

Asked if he would speak directly to Mitchell, Harrison responded sarcastically: "What would I say. I don't have much to say. It's Freddie Mitchell."

The Eagles would get their chance for rebuttal later Sunday.