Linebacker Joe Mays returned to Dove Valley Monday after serving a one-week suspension for a helmet-to-helmet hit on Houston quarterback Matt Schaub.
The week away from football gave Mays a rare midseason opportunity for some family time, which he enjoyed while it lasted.
“I spent a lot of time with my family,” Mays said. “Normally you don’t really get a chance to spend too much time at home during the season. I spent a lot of time with them, as much time as I could. We’re tired of each other now so it’s time for me to get back to work.”
The suspension made gameday a uniquely challenging Sunday afternoon for a player typically in the middle of the action.
“It was tough,” Mays said. “Tough sitting at home, not used to being at home. I turned into a true fan. I was at home yelling and screaming at the TV. It was cool, but I wanted to play. I wanted to be out there with the guys, going out there and making plays with them. It was tough, but at the end of the day, those were the cards that I was dealt. I just had to sit at home and watch it.”
Now that Mays is back with the team and ready for football, the middle linebacker said he plans to continue to play the game the way he always has.
“No holding back,” Mays said. “I’m going to keep playing the way I’ve been playing, the way that I was taught to play the game. … Hard to the whistle, from the beginning of the whistle to the end of the whistle, I’m playing. That’s how I approach the game, that’s how I’m going to continue to approach the game. I just try to make sure that I stay out of these situations that I just put myself in.”
Taking on quarterback Tom Brady and a New England Patriots offense coming off a 52-point outing against the Buffalo Bills, Mays knows that he and his teammates face a tall task that will require them to be at their best.
“He’s dangerous,” Mays said of Brady. “We all know that he’s one of the best quarterbacks in the game. He’s a dangerous guy. He can put up points with the best of them. We know that. We knew that last year when we played them twice. We have to be ready. We’re going to have to step our game up. We played good this week, we’re going to have to play better because this guy can definitely can capitalize on our mistakes. We made a couple this week, they didn’t affect us too much. But playing Brady, he’ll definitely take advantage of them.”