For this week's five questions about the Patriots, we talked to veteran OLB Tully Banta-Cain. Off the field, Banta-Cain raps and signs under the name 'Nova-Cain' and he told us about that skill. He also discussed this year's linebacking crew.
1. Where did you get your start and inspiration into the world of music?
Banta-Cain: I've always been a part of music because of my Dad, he's the lead singer of a band. When I was a kid, I used to watch him perform and go on stage with him. Naturally, I was always around people playing instruments and shows. I didn't really start recording until I got into college. I always had a knack for it and I just started taking it more seriously. Just like anything, the more you practice the better you get in it, like football. I've gotten to the point where I'm confident enough where I can put something out and I've got some good feedback from people.
2. Why is having music as an off-the-field hobby so important to you?
Banta-Cain: It's a good way to express myself as an artist. When you play football, you express yourself physically on the field. You don't really get a chance to express yourself verbally. That's why it works out because it gives me a chance to really give people a peek into my life.
3. At linebacker, you have a couple rookies starting in Brandon Spikes and Jermaine Cunningham. What has been your role with the group as a veteran on the team?
Banta-Cain: The big thing with us is competition. I just try to be the best competitor I can be in practice and in games — that's the example I try to set. If you work hard and do your job, you compete. We got a good mix of guys that do a lot of things when you put them in a competitive setting; everyone is going to play at their best. The result of that is we've got a lot of guys playing well this season.
4. How do you guys maintain your composure and refuse to respond to some of the things the Jets' players and coaches have said this week?
Banta-Cain: Our focus is on the game itself and not anything else. That's really our mentality going into the game. We do our talking on the field.
5. You're a part of the After-School All Stars' Touchdown vs. Shutdown initiative and donate $1,000 for every sack this season. What is the significance of that charity to you?
Banta-Cain: I was a kid once who was at risk. I grew up with a single mother, and football was really the only recreational thing that I had. If it weren't for that, I would have been on the streets. I can relate to the program because I can see another kid needing an opportunity to do something when school gets out. That's the significance for me. When I'm out there, I'm aware of it, but I'm motivated for a lot of reasons on the field.