Addai, on other side of rivalry, ready to move on

Addai, on other side of rivalry, ready to move on
May 24, 2012, 7:58 pm
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FOXBORO -- If Joseph Addai is dealing with any inner turmoil at switching allegiance from Colts to Patriots, he's hiding it beautifully.

"You know what, actually I'm excited to be a part of the team," he said after Thursday's OTAs. "It's a great opportunity for me. Seeing them, playing against them over the years, I know I'm coming to a good organization.

"I think the Patriots . . . as far as what they do, they do a lot on the offensive side of the ball. And I see myself really fitting in. It was a smooth transition coming from Indy to here."

Makes sense. If a guy is going to move from pass-first offense to pass-first offense, it might as well be a slide from Peyton Manning to Tom Brady, right?

"Tom's been helping me out a lot," said Addai. "He's been showing me things, teaching me, explaining things to me and understanding that it's going to take a while for me to get it. But I am getting it and it's a great experience to play with him."

Ask who holds the rivalry's edge and all Addai could do is laugh.

"I'm still young on that," he said. "I can't . . . I can't call that, I'm a Patriot now."

Smart answer. But there ended the easy questions.

Addai had to answer for the injuries. The running back hasn't played a 16-game season since his rookie year in 2006. His numbers reflect that fact, declining steadily from 1,081 yards to 433 over the last six years.

Last season, Addai was limited to 12 games because of a troublesome hamstring. He told reporters, perched on a podium at Gillette Stadium, that his health is good. Good enough to focus on the future instead of the past.

"Injuries are a big part of football. The only thing I can do now is move forward. And the medical staff here has been great to me, as far as getting my body right and getting ready for this upcoming season."

It doesn't sound like he's expecting the bulk of running back snaps, which is good. Stevan Ridley will likely fill the void left by BenJarvus Green-Ellis. Addai could do better as a Fred Taylor-type.

He smartly said he'll do whatever he's asked.

"To me, it's all about playing ball. I've got a great chance to be a part of this ballclub and do what they do here. And I'm very excited about that.

"It's always team first for me, so if coach Bill Belichick wants me to run, catch, block . . . " Addai laughed. "Whatever he wants me to do, I just want to be a part of it."

Mentoring could be on his to-do list. Though he's technically The New Guy, Addai is New England's most experienced running back, senior to Danny Woodhead by two years.

He said he embraces the chance to teach as he learns.

"It's a team sport, so no matter what, you want to help guys --- if you're young, if you're old. That's never been a problem to me. At the end of the day, it's a team sport and it's about winning.

"The last couple of days we've been working together, really trying to get things rolling. It's been a good start; I think it will end well."