HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - For second-year New England Patriots running back Joey Iosefa, watching the rookie season of Kamehameha Kapalama alum Kamu Grugier-Hill is going to feel a lot like deja vu.
"By the middle of the season, you start hitting that wall," said Iosefa, a former University of Hawaii Rainbow Warrior standout. "You've been training since January for your pro day, the combine, you have to go to OTAs... Most of the [veteran] guys, after the season, take a couple of months off. But for rookies coming in, we're working 9 to 10 months before the season even starts."
Grugier-Hill, a defensive back out of Eastern Illinois who became a sixth-round pick by the Patriots during April's NFL Draft, is very much reliving Iosefa's summer from a year ago, when he was drafted by Tampa Bay. The two recently completed off-season workouts with New England and have returned to Hawaii to get ready for training camp.
"I'm so anxious to stay up there and just grind right now, but I haven't seen my mom, seen my family, since the draft," said Grugier-Hill. "So I had to come home, see the family, grind down here, but I can't wait. I can't wait to get back up there and do some work."
Iosefa, despite having been released and resigned by New England several times over the past 9 months, expressed confidence that New England was the best place for both he and Grugier-Hill.
"I think the big thing is, they're willing to help you," said Iosefa. "They make sure you know your stuff before you go onto the field because you don't want to look bad running the show. They know your strengths, they know your weaknesses, and they're gonna put you where you can perform your best at."
As he enters his rookie year, Grugier-Hill will be able to count on support from not only those on the team's coaching staff; in addition to Iosefa, he'll also be reunited with former college teammate Jimmy Garoppolo, a Patriots quarterback who serves as the primary backup to Tom Brady.
"Having Joey there is definitely big time for me," he said. "Jimmy [Garropolo] has been a big mentor up there. But all the guys have been great. The transition is awesome."
Still, Grugier-Hill acknowledges that his rookie season has only just begun.
"Rookie year is your hardest year," Grugier-Hill said. "The season is longer, you play more games, the games are faster, but I'm ready for it. My mind is right right now."
When training start begins, in just under a month, both players will be competing for a spot on the Patriots final roster.
"I'm excited. I mean, after the first year, being through a lot of ups and downs, the learning curve is just crazy," said Iosefa. "You learn so much about football in the first year. I think going into this year there's a lot more confidence in myself, the playbook, everything. I'm excited for the competition."