Lawrence Guy’s football career has been defined by his ability to fight through adversity. It started when he was drafted in the 7th round after leaving Arizona State a year early and it continues today as a mainstay on the defensive line for the New England Patriots.

Guy played for four teams in his first five years and then had a breakout year for the Baltimore Ravens in 2015 when he recorded 46 tackles and 4.5 sacks. In 2017, Guy signed a 4-year, $20 million deal with the Pats and had six tackles in New England’s Super Bowl LII in February.

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The Patriots defensive lineman spoke with CBS Local’s DJ Sixsmith about his unlikely road to the NFL, why giving back to the community is a priority for him and what it’s really like to play for Bill Belichick.

How did your football career begin?

Lawrence Guy: I started playing football in high school. The funny story is that I had no interest in it at first. People told me that I might as well try out for the football team because I didn’t have anything else to do. I fell in love with the game and it helped me build character. It gave me the opportunity to succeed in every aspect of my life.

You didn’t start playing until high school, but you ended up leaving Arizona State early to declare for the NFL Draft in 2011. When did you realize you had the opportunity to make a career out of football?

LG: I started to realize it during my second year of college. I was blessed with the opportunity to go pro. It was one of those situations where I wondered if I should stay or if I should go because the education aspect of it was important at that time. My junior year, I knew it was my time to go. I’m truly blessed that I can continue to play the game that I love for so long.

The Green Bay Packers picked you in the 7th round. You played for four teams in your first five years. What were the greatest challenges you faced in those first few years of your career?

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LG: This business is not an easy business to be in. People come and go around the league. You have to constantly maintain a consistent fight and consistent drive. Everyone around you is telling you that you need to strive to be better every single year and train harder. That aspect of it is very difficult and challenging. But, that makes you grow and you build yourself as a person and a teammate during that process because get to understand your drive. Consistently fighting is not the easiest thing to do, but once you get that mentality it helps drive you through everything. Then the years fly by. I went from my rookie year to my eighth year.

It all finally clicked for you in Baltimore. What was the biggest lesson you learned playing with a guy like Terrell Suggs and a coach like John Harbaugh?

LG: My defensive line coach Clarence Brooks passed away two years ago. He opened my eyes to another aspect of the game and the different ways to study it. The veteran players there also helped me build on what I already had. I was able to put the puzzle pieces together thanks to the people around me. At that time, it was the right coach and the right veterans that I needed to build who I am today. I was truly blessed to be there. Now, when I see younger kids in my shoes, I can take what I learned from every coach and veteran to try to help them out.

Giving back to the community is something that is important to you. What was it like to hold a school supply giveback for 150 underprivileged children in Boston?

LG: Giving back to the community is something that every individual should be doing. I feel like the only way to fully grow as a person is to help people and their families that truly need it. Education is very important to me and the backpack giveaway was something that touched my heart. I was honored to help out. That backpack and those school supplies can change a child’s life for the next 20-30 years or a family member can see that someone actually cares. This can boost someone’s moral if they are down on their luck or just lost their things in a fire. I want to show that there are people who care. We aren’t just out here playing football, we care about other people and are in a position to give back.

You now play for one of the league’s best team in the Patriots. How has playing for Coach Belichick and playing in a Super Bowl helped you grow as a player?

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LG: It’s all about opportunity. If you’re an underdog or a player that most teams won’t look at, you have a chance on this team. Coach Belichick is an awesome coach and he runs a great organization. He and Mr. Kraft give people opportunities and help them build as a player. That aspect of it is great and the morale is awesome. You come into work and know who you are playing with and who you are playing for. We understand that we’re a family and that’s a one of a kind situation. Our experience last year was great. We went all the way to the Super Bowl, which was an amazing feeling. The outcome didn’t go the way we wanted it to, but somebody has to win and somebody has to lose. It’s one of those games that you can talk about forever because it was a close game and every play counted. Those are the games you want to play in.