FOXBORO -- Will Smith hasn't played against the Patriots since 2009 when he helped lead New Orleans to a 38-17 win.
Despite the lopsided victory, Smith remembers what it was like to take on Tom Brady and the challenge that it was for the Saints to prepare for Bill Belichick's schemes.
In an interview with Patriots.com, Smith told Jackie Brittain that those memories helped him decide that New England was a good fit as his new home.
On Monday it was announced that the 32-year-old signed a free-agent deal with the Patriots.
"Anytime you play against the Patriots, it's always been a challenge," said Smith. "We knew what they bring to the table. They've always been a good team, and that's why I decided to come here."
Before his release from New Orleans this offseason, Smith spent his entire 10-year career with the Saints after being drafted out of Ohio State in 2004. He thrived as a defensive end in New Orleans' 4-3 scheme, but recent a change to a 3-4 by the Saints may have made him expendable. He's also coming off of an ACL tear that forced him to miss the entire 2013 season.
Smith will wear No. 90 for the Patriots and said in his interview with the team's website that he's "happy to be a Patriot."
"Always fun to get back with the guys and in the locker room, be with the coaches and stuff like that," he said. "Just kind of getting back into a football realm and just enjoying myself. The injury, that's behind me. I'm just working hard and getting better each day."