scorecardresearch Skip to main content

Patriots’ Brian Tyms feeling good but not comfortable

Brian Tyms appreciated the fact that he got to spend the offseason with the Patriots.Jonathan Wiggs/Globe Staff/Globe Staff

FOXBOROUGH — It’s almost impossible not to root for Brian Tyms.

The Patriots receiver is engaging, at times brutally honest, and has a classic underdog story. He is the first to acknowledge he is in a fight to make the roster.

Through five spring practices reporters were present for, it appears Tyms enjoyed a very solid offseason, though he did have a down day Wednesday, unable to hold onto a couple of passes and he was stripped after pulling in deep ball at the second — and last — day of mandatory minicamp.

After that miscue, Tyms bent at the waist, holding his helmet, obviously annoyed with himself.


“I don’t feel I did as [well] as I could have done or should have done,” Tyms said. “I hold myself to a really high standard and I feel as though when the ball’s thrown my way I have to make a play. I’ve got a lot of stuff to look at on film and a lot of stuff to work on after this minicamp.”

The 26-year-old joined the Patriots at the start of training camp last year, and though he opened eyes, particularly when he was on the field with Jimmy Garoppolo, he spent much of the season learning and trying to catch up with the offense.

Despite having to sit out the first four games of the regular season because of an NFL suspension for performance-enhancing drugs — Tyms said it was for Adderall, which he’s been taking with ritalin since he was 9, for attention deficit disorder — he had a spot on the 53-man roster when he returned. He played in 11 games with two starts.

Though Tyms pulled in a 43-yard touchdown in his first game, he wouldn’t log another reception until the final week of the season, when he started and had four catches for 39 yards in a loss to the Bills.


Re-signed to a one-year deal in March, Tyms has relished the chance to be with the Patriots for the entire offseason.

“It’s tremendous,” he said. “Last year I came in, I was catching on as I went. Now I actually know the stuff, so you start paying attention to more detail [like] route depth, certain situations. It’s big.”

But that doesn’t mean he’s taking anything for granted.

“I don’t want to use that word comfortable around here, because it’s never comfortable, but I feel a bit more easygoing with the system because I was in it,” Tyms said. “There’s still a lot of stuff I’ve got to work on and a lot of stuff I need to learn. It’s better than what it was, but I still have a long way to go.”

He is happy knowing there is no suspension hanging over his head. But the time he missed last year actually came with some benefits: Brandon Browner was serving a suspension at the same time, and the veteran cornerback passed on some lessons to Tyms.

Asked what he’s been working on this offseason, Tyms said everything.

“I want to be looked to as a really good player and the really good players can do everything well, so I’m trying to do everything well, whether it’s blocking, route-running, short routes, longer routes — everything. Everything. Even special teams,” he said.

The key to blocking is being more aggressive than the player across from you.


“I try to aim for their face, just try to let them know I’m standing my ground, this is where I’m at, and this is how the game’s going to be,” said Tyms.

That’s where Browner’s influence rubbed off.

“When we were both suspended we worked out together a lot and he would tell me, ‘Just be a killer out there. Don’t be scared of anybody, because ain’t nobody scared of you,’ ” Tyms said. “When you step out on the field, it’s man versus man.”

Tyms has worked with Garoppolo, Tom Brady, and recently-signed quarterback Matt Flynn, though Tyms drew laughs when he had a tough time remembering the new guy’s name.

The Patriots are Tyms’s fourth NFL stop. He was signed as an undrafted rookie by the 49ers in 2012, then picked up by the Dolphins when he was released by San Francisco out of training camp. He spent nearly all of the season on Miami’s practice squad, and after being released in 2013, was picked up by the Browns.

He would play seven games for the Cleveland, and gained a fan in general manager Michael Lombardi. When Lombardi came to New England, he persuaded Bill Belichick to sign Tyms

Given his NFL history, the moment Tyms received his Super Bowl XLIX ring Sunday night was unforgettable.

“That was the best feeling in the world, next to my kids. That’s the best feeling in the world,” he said. “Out of everything everybody said about us, especially me coming from a suspension, people telling me I wasn’t going to make the team and I wouldn’t play to looking at that giant ring — that thing was huge! — it was a blessing.”


He’s looking forward to training camp, the exhibition games, and “hopefully” a spot on the 53-man roster when September arrives, again proving he’s not getting too comfortable.

Shalise Manza Young can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @shalisemyoung.