Credit: Stephen Hewitt
FOXBORO — Kony Early’s father served in the Army and is a Vietnam vet, so he was raised on structure and discipline growing up in Missouri.
Now a Patriot and playing under coach Bill Belichick, who has a similar military background and respect for it, Ealy is noticing the same kind of morals apply to his new team.
The defensive end, who was traded to New England from the Carolina Panthers in March, is excited to have a new opportunity, and when it comes to the Patriots it starts with the way it’s run from the top.
“The way coach runs this organization, I think it’s obviously similar to the military lifestyle,” Ealy said when asked if he’s noticed a connectivity to the military in his short time with the Patriots. “It’s an organized organization and you just want to do things right. You want to do things the most perfect that you can and if you fall short, then hey, at least you’re trying hard and your job is to go out and get better each day.
“I think with that approach, you get a championship-caliber team.”
Of course, the stakes playing football are a lot smaller than what servicemen and women face in the military. But Ealy said the approach he’s found in New England is similar to what he knew at an early age because of his father.
“It kept me out of a lot of trouble growing up,” he said of his dad’s military influence. “Just real attentive in certain situations, especially when it comes to helping raising my sister, and I really had to grow up at an early age as far as really taking on that responsibility.”