FOXBORO -- Spencer Larsen is one of the new kids in town. But, as it happens in this turnstile business, he was greeted by a few familiar faces.
Denver drafted the 6-foot-2, 245-pound fullback -- then a linebacker -- with a sixth round pick in 2008. Larsen played under former Broncos head coach, current Patriots offensive coordinator, Josh McDaniels the following season.
The connection could help him find a spot on the roster despite New England's recent apathy for his position.
"I loved playing for McDaniels and I loved all the opportunity that he provided for me. I'm just excited to be back with him," Larsen said.
"I think just being with Josh from the past, I think he just likes to have options. And being with him in Denver . . . he just likes to have different things that he can do from week-to-week, so who knows. I don't think any of us know what can happen at that position. I think you just need to work and get better and let that thing happen naturally."
Larsen always has versatility in his back pocket.
Though he didn't play a snap at linebacker last season, he said he's "100-percent open" to reprising the role for the Patriots if need be. Larsen is, after all, just the fourth guy since 1990 to start a game on both offense and defense (Denver's November 16 game versus Atlanta in 2008).
Yes, he was a rookie. And he also played special teams that day.
"It was just one of those exciting days," Larsen smiled. "I didn't really play a whole lot of offense that day -- as a fullback you kind of come in and out. So it wasn't 100 percent taxing; it was a good days work."
They must teach toughness at Arizona. Which is where Larsen met Rob Gronkowski.
"I was a senior when he was a freshman, so I used to beat him up in college if you guys believe that," Larsen laughed. "It's just been good seeing him and seeing the success he's had, getting to talk to him again.
"I swear he looked like he does now as a freshman, coming out of high school. I can't imagine what he did in high school. He's one of those guys that come around and you just feel like he's going to be special. So far he's proved that."
The real reuniting begins Monday with practice. If Larsen wants to work again for McDaniels, and with Gronkowski, he needs to be a Patriot -- no easy undertaking.
"Bottom line is, it's a new year and I have to prove that I can play."