You can take the man out of Patriots Country, but you can't take Patriots Country out of the man. Well, maybe you can.
Case in point, Blake Galvin, a Lowell, Massachusetts native and Boston College linebacker who was drafted in the 11th round by the Jets in 1988.
"I was just honored that I was drafted. I always hold near and dear to my heart, the New York Jets," Galvin said. "They haven't had the success that New England has had. It's been a pretty good run for the last 20 years for the local team, so it's hard. My friends will tell you when they're playing the Jets, I'm rooting for the Jets. But when they're playing anybody else, I'm rooting for the Pats."
Granted, it's small steps, but Galvin sticking up for himself and the Jets two games a year is a start. And actually, he stuck up for himself when he started his career, as well. One day during his first training camp, veteran defensive end Mark Gastineau told the rookie to go back to the locker room and get his helmet.
After Galvin declined, words were exchanged and, getting eye to eye, Gastineau insisted, trying to intimidate the young linebacker and test how far he could be pushed. It wasn't far. Instead of retrieving Gastineau's helmet, Galvin dropped his own helmet and raised his fists. And while no punches were thrown, the rookie did earn immediate respect from the veterans.
With that, came the willingness from some to show Galvin the ropes.
"Gerald Nichols was a nose guard from Florida State, and he was pretty tight with Marty Lyons and Scott Mersereau and some of the other guys that were on the team," Galvin said. "I hit it off with him, and he was real good to me. That led to Marty being pretty good to me. And Kyle Clifton was very good to me in terms of I don't think he was worried I was going to take his spot. But he didn't have to go above and beyond."
In 1989, the NFL initiated Plan B free agency, which allowed teams to protect 37 players with the right of first refusal. Galvin wasn't one of them.
"I tried out for the Vikings and the Redskins and the Dolphins, and ultimately, the Vikings offered me more money and a better contract," Galvin said.
Sidelined after breaking two transverse process bones in the Vikings' season opener may have been what kept Galvin from being one of the five players, who along with six draft choices. were sent to Dallas as part of the Minnesota's trade for running back Herschel Walker.
"The only reason I guess I wasn't included was because I was on IR for maybe three or four weeks at the time," Galvin said. "Then once that trade happened, they were talking that I was going to be on IR for another three or four weeks. Somebody came to me and said, 'Get yourself ready to play or you might be looking at an exit here.' So I rushed and got back on the field and finished off the season there."
The following season, relationships Galvin had built with his Viking coaches ultimately led him back to the Jets.
"My linebacker coach was Monte Kiffin and our defensive back coach was Pete Carroll," Galvin said. "Pete left Minnesota and got the defensive coordinator job with the Jets, and he brought Monty with him. I guess I wasn't going to make the roster that year with the Vikings and they said, 'Hey, would you have any interest in coming back to New York?'"
He did and was with the Jets for two more seasons. One of Galvin's most memorable moments from his three years with the Green & White occurred during his rookie season. However, it was not on the field, but on a bus.
"Mark Gastineau was a superstar, but he had started to wane in terms of his production in his career. But at that point in that season, he was leading the NFL in sacks," Galvin said. "And I happened to sit with him on the bus going back to Hofstra (following a game at Giants Stadium against Buffalo) and he's telling me how he had this renewed energy. He got me all fired up. I'm saying to myself, 'Geez, this is great.' I got excited.
"Monday was the universal day off, and come Tuesday morning, Mark Gastineau was never seen again in the NFL. He up and left. No one knew where he went.
"Fast forward, I don't know how many years, there was a reality TV show, The Gastineau Girls. It was Gastineau's (ex-)wife and his daughter, and that's when you found out that he was dating (actress) Brigitte Nielsen at the time and she went over to Europe. He left and chased her over there."
Living in his hometown, Galvin and his wife, Kerri, have four children: Jack, Kate, Carly, and Ryan. He is a senior client executive with Worldcom Exchange Incorporated (WEI).
"We're a value-added IT reseller. And what we do is provide our expertise around different types of IT solutions," said Galvin, who has been with WEI for five years after previously working for Hewlett Packard and EMC, which was acquired by Dell. "Whether it be networking, compute, backup, or whatever, we have subject matter experts that help us sell solutions to end user clients. We have large enterprise clients, Fortune 500, Fortune 100 companies, and we have smaller local municipalities and banks and schools.
"We're headquartered out of Salem, New Hampshire, but we deploy solutions globally. We send our engineers to the Far East, to Europe. We have clients that have a global presence, and we deliver our solutions to them globally.
"I actually work with the best of the best. These guys are savants when it comes to the technologies and solutions that we sell. And to be able to use my network, to be able to get in front of those people knowing that I've got the smartest guys in the industry behind me to come in and deliver the solutions that we're trying to help clients with, that's what I love about it. I love the fact that when I say I represent the A-team, I represent the A-team."