JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Cast off by New England, Brandon Deaderick and Kyle Love are trying to catch on in Jacksonville.
The Jaguars claimed both defensive linemen off waivers last week, giving them a fresh start with a rebuilding team that desperately wants to improve its pass rush.
It remains to be seen whether they will fit in coach Gus Bradley's defense. But the Jaguars regard the claims as low-risk moves that could pay dividends for a team that failed to address its defensive line in the NFL draft.
"It's kind of bittersweet," Love said Monday. "You know that taste. You're sad, but then you're happy at the same time. I'm just trying to move on and not really worry about that. I've got a new home here and I just want to focus on everything that's going on here."
Deaderick seemingly became expendable after the Patriots signed Tommy Kelly and Armond Armstead in free agency. Love, meanwhile, was released after being diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes.
They found comfort in landing together in Jacksonville, even though it's clear they will have to fight for roster spots. The Jaguars have 17 players right now vying for eight to 10 roster spots along the D-line.
"Stuff happens," Deaderick said. "You have to be able to adjust and roll with it. The past is in the past. I'm grateful for the opportunity I have now."
The Jaguars are looking to revamp a defensive line that has been one of the worst in the league the last five years. They signed defensive tackles Roy Miller and Sen'Derrick Marks in free agency and believe former Philadelphia Eagles castoff Jason Babin and second-year player Andre Branch can provide some much-needed pass rush off the edges.
At the very least, Deaderick and Love should create more competition in practice.
A seventh-round draft pick in 2010, the 6-foot-4, 305-pound Deaderick started 14 of 34 games the past three seasons. He has 51 tackles, five sacks and two forced fumbles.
The 6-foot-1 Love, an undrafted rookie from Mississippi State, started the first 11 games last season next to Vince Wilfork. He has started 25 of the 41 regular-season games, tallying 80 tackles and 5½ sacks.
He said he learned about his diabetes following a team physical. Team doctors noticed he had high blood sugar and called him back in for more tests, which revealed diabetes.
Type 2 is manageable with the requisite blood-sugar monitoring, a healthy diet and a good amount of physical activity.
Love said he's "very confident" it won't be a problem or change his playing style.
"I'm a fighter," he said. "I was always told that I wouldn't be able to do something. School teacher telling me I would never be anything in life, different people telling me I wouldn't make it to the NFL and look where I am now. I don't really listen to all that. If anything, it just drives me to go any harder and work even harder."
Love already has changed his diet, cutting out juices and desserts.
"That was my downfall," he said of sweets. "Sad a little bit, but I know I need to get my health back up. If I have to cut off everything, then so be it."
He called any reports that he arrived for the team's offseason conditioning program out of shape "false." He said he reported to the Patriots at 297 pounds, 18 pounds lighter than his normal playing weight.
He added that he lost 10 pounds from working out and the rest from the diabetes.
"People try to make it like I lost 30 pounds," he said. "I didn't lose 30 pounds. ... I feel great. There's nothing wrong with me. There's a lot of rumors going around. Like they say, you can't believe everything you hear."
This much is certain: Deaderick and Love are getting a chance to start anew in Jacksonville.
"It's just creating and adding competition to that whole group," Bradley said. "It doesn't matter if there's 17, 12, eight, it shouldn't matter to them. They all should be trying to get better within themselves, and that's how we're going to get better as a team."