The Patriot Way: Former New England linebacker enjoying life back in Elizabethton

Jeff Birchfield • Jan 28, 2019 at 2:09 PM

Vince Redd played just one season for the New England Patriots in the National Football League, yet he is still enthusiastic about doing things “The Patriot Way.”

Now back home in Elizabethton and working as a banker and business owner in Johnson City, the 6-foot-6 former linebacker explained “The Patriot Way” is about more than achieving success on the football field.

“The Patriot Way is about showing up and doing your best every day,” said Redd, an outside linebacker on the 2008 team. “It’s about being prepared to go out there and giving your best effort whether that’s getting ready for a game or the other challenges of life. It’s about treating others with respect and becoming better than the day before.”

“The Patriot Way” is one reason Redd said that players talk about team owner Robert Kraft and coach Bill Belichick in glowing terms. While the veteran coach comes across as gruff to those in the media, he’s someone who most former players have immense respect for.

Redd understands why Belichick is often terse with his answers in press conferences. He’s the ultimate close-to-the-vest coach, never wanting to divulge any secrets that can be used in the game plan against his team.

Although his time in New England was brief, Redd has good memories and it bothers him when people use the word hate to describe their feelings towards his former coach and former teammate, quarterback Tom Brady or anything at all.

“People talk about hate and that’s a strong word to use about someone you’ve never even met,” Redd said. “Tom has had great success so it obviously isn’t bothering him what someone he’s never met is saying about him. When I was there, we weren’t hanging out all the time or anything like that, but Tom is a nice guy and a good teammate.”

Ironically, Redd’s only season in New England was with Brady on the sidelines. The quarterback suffered a torn ACL in the season opener against Kansas City and backup Matt Cassel led the team to an 11-5 record. However, they missed the playoffs, only the second time in NFL history an 11-win team has failed to reach the postseason.

Although frustrating when the Arizona Cardinals, who went 9-7 in the regular season, made the Super Bowl from the NFC, Redd said it’s just the way football works.

Redd always dreamed of playing in the pros and worked hard to achieve that goal, first at Elizabethton High School. He played a freshman season for longtime coach Dave Rider with future Dallas Cowboys tight end Jason Witten, a senior on the team.

Once Rider retired, Tommy Jenkins took over as coach. Redd, an All-State player for the Cyclones, praised his coaches at Elizabethton for getting him ready for the next steps in his football career. He found their system similar to what he experienced in college and the pros. The head coach would let the assistants coach the different positions and then come around to address what needed to be fine-tuned.

Redd played two seasons collegiately at the University of Virginia before transferring to Liberty University. He described the transfer as a good move, needing to get back to some basics.

He was an undrafted free agent out of college, but was signed by the Patriots in May 2008 and to the practice squad on Sept. 1, 2008. He was promoted to the team’s active roster three weeks later where he finished out the season, making eight tackles in five games.

After getting waived by the Patriots in 2009, he was picked up by the Chiefs, but only stayed in Kansas City a couple of weeks after being suspended for violation of the league’s substance abuse policy.

It was both a high point and a low point in his life and after his NFL suspension ended, he joined the practice roster of the Canadian Football League’s Calgary Stampeders. He later played in Germany, although he said his life didn’t get turned around until his football career was over.

“Most guys talk about the day they turn pro as being the happiest day of their lives,” Redd said. “I always felt I was going to make it to the NFL. But, I had so many things outside going on, that I didn’t take advantage of the opportunity in the way I should have.”

Back home and with a successful career, he’s happier than ever before. A couple of people in the business industry have served as mentors to him and he has even shared some guidance to current Liberty University player Austin Lewis, a David Crockett graduate. He has read several books on success. However, his greatest peace comes from his faith and studying The WORD, which he describes as the ultimate success book.

“I’ve been fortunate to have learned about controlling my finances, which is something I didn’t always do as a player,” he said. “In my current role, I’ve read the books on success and while they’re good, the greatest book on success is The Bible. As a believer, it shows you the path to take and the mindset you need to prosper.”

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