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Massachusetts native Obi Melifonwu reacts to first game as member of Patriots

Ryan Hannable
November 26, 2018 - 12:38 pm

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- After roughly a month since joining the Patriots, safety Obi Melifonwu made his debut Sunday in New York against the Jets.

Growing up a fan of the Patriots, it was a special feeling for the 24-year-old.

“It felt amazing to strap up the shoulder pads, put on No. 22, put on the Patriots helmet and just be out here with my teammates,” Melifonwu said after the game. “Wearing the logo is something that’s special.”

The Grafton, Mass. native and UConn product was drafted by the Raiders in the second round of the 2017 draft, but because of injuries he only played in five games and was ultimately released Oct. 23 before the Patriots signed him on Nov. 5.

“It meant a lot,” he said. “It’s been a long journey coming back. It’s just a blessing to be able to still play and still get the opportunity to play.”

Melifonwu logged just eight defensive snaps, primarily on third down when the Patriots used four safeties, but he did play a significant role on special teams.

Since he joined the team in the middle of the season, he still has a lot to learn, but as time goes on and he becomes more comfortable he should earn more of a role given his athleticism.

He's signed through the end of next season.

“I think it’s going real well,” he said. “It’s something that I’m spending a lot of time on, extra time, whether it be with Steve [Belichick] or the other players. Just trying to digest the system and learn as much as I can and know where they’re going to contribute to playing.”

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