INDIANAPOLIS — Steve Weatherford spent 16 games on the same 2009 Jets team with Larry Izzo.
In that span, he learned quickly what Patriots fans absorbed from 2001-07. Izzo oozes character.
So when Weatherford first walked through the door to sign on as the New York Giants punter, he was more than pleasantly surprised to see Izzo, his new assistant special teams coach.
"Larry is such a great guy. I mean he's the all-time leading special-teams tackler in the NFL, and you know how he got there, hard-work, heart and determination," said Weatherford. "So knowing him as a player, you'll have to think he's going to have that same drive and passion as he did when he played."
After a year away from the game, Izzo returned to New York, trying his hand at coaching.
"It's been an incredible learning experience, an unbelievable year," he said. "There are a lot of similarities between here and New England. You could see that right away."
Izzo spent much of the last two days here on Super Bowl week reminiscing about his time with the Patriots and his defensive teammates like Willie McGinest, Tedy Bruschi, Ted Johnson, Mike Vrabel and Rodney Harrison.
"You're talking about a great bunch of guys, and just all-around good people," said Izzo. "We stay in touch and remain friends now. That linebackers meeting room, there were guys like Rosevelt Colvin, and even in the early days, Bryan Cox. That's a lot of really good football players."
Izzo and Vrabel (Ohio State) moved into coaching when their playing days ended.
"I just can't think of a better guy to be a coach, and a better place for Mike," said Izzo. "He loves everything about the place."
Meanwhile, Harrison, McGinest and Bruschi transitioned into the media.