Stallworth: 'I'm a lot more mature now'

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Stallworth: 'I'm a lot more mature now'

FOXBORO -- After Donte' Stallworth re-signed with the Patriots in March, agent Drew Rosenhaus revealed it was his client's wish all along.

He said, Drew, you got one thing to do for me this offseason: Get me to New England, Rosenhaus said.

Stallworth took a break from Tuesday's workouts to talk about his desire to re-join the Pats.

"Being here it's obviously a special place and I've always had a lot of respect for Mr. Kraft and really the whole organization and a lot of the players here," he said. "Still got a lot of friends on the team, so I just thought that it made a lot of sense for me to come back here and try to help this team win some ballgames."

New England won plenty of games in 2007 when Stallworth was last here. It's the one that eluded him -- the Super Bowl -- that he's after.

He said chasing a championship again as a Patriot is a thrill. If not a little strange.

"It was interesting. It was a little weird feeling. It was kind of surreal," Stallworth said of his return. "But honestly, I think it took about a week or so to get adjusted and to really realize that, hey, I really am back; it's not just a dream. It's been good being back and seeing a lot of the same, familiar faces -- friendly faces."

Though there's temptation to submit to that time warp feeling when seeing Stallworth at Gillette, reality stubbornly elbows in.

Stallworth is 31 years old. He hasn't been with a team for consecutive seasons since his first four years (all in New Orleans) in the league. He hasn't started a game since 2008. And those 46 receptions he had for the Patriots? Stallworth didn't even have half that in a solid 2011 for Washington.

His focus isn't on the numbers. When Stallworth tweeted "This time around, things will be different," on the day he signed, the thinking was big-picture positive.

"I'm a lot more mature now than I was in 2007," he said. "I feel like I'm playing better. I'm in a better place mentally, physically and I just felt like at that time I was still trying to mature and grow into a professional athlete. I feel like I'm a lot further down the road than I was last time."

He believes his game is actually better now.

"I think, back then, I was really more relying on my talent. Now that I'm going into my 10th year, I think I run better routes now and understand different coverages and what teams are trying to do. That's a big thing because you always hear people say this game is 90-percent mental and 10-percent physical... I don't know who came up with that percentage, but I would say that it's fairly accurate for certain reasons.

"You just look at a guy -- not by any means, don't take this wrong like I'm comparing myself to Jerry Rice -- but Jerry Rice wasn't the most talented guy. But he was the best receiver to ever play this game just because he understood what defenses were trying to do. He understood the little nuances of zone coverages and things like that. That's something I've gotten a lot better at as I've gotten older in my career."

His is a smart attitude to project, considering there are 12 receivers coming into camp; the competition is eagerly anticipated.

Stallworth said the chance is all he needs.

"I think you just come to the reality that basically you have one shot to prove yourself. Whatever happens after that is really up to me and my performance."

Trump wishes Kraft good luck, says Brady called to congratulate him

Trump wishes Kraft good luck, says Brady called to congratulate him

President-elect Donald Trump made sure to thank a few of his supporters from New England -- particularly those at 1 Patriot Place -- during a speech on the eve of his inauguration to the nation's highest office. 

Patriots chairman and CEO Robert Kraft, coach Bill Belichick and quarterback Tom Brady all earned shout-outs from Trump. Kraft was one of many Trump donors present for a dinner at Washington, DC's Union Station, where he was singled out by the soon-to-be-president. 

"In the audience we have somebody that's under no pressure whatsoever because he's got a great quarterback named Tom Brady and a great coach named Belichick: Bob Kraft," Trump said. "Good luck, Bob.

"Your friend Tom Brady just called. He feels good. He called to congratulate us. He feels good. Good luck. You're going to do great."

Trump gave one extra nod to Belichick, who he says taught him to out-work his competition. 

"I out-worked everybody," Trump said. "I think I out-worked anyone who ever ran for office. I learned that from Belichick."

Patriots sign TE Rob Housler to future contract

Patriots sign TE Rob Housler to future contract

FOXBORO -- The Patriots have signed free-agent tight end Rob Housler to a future contract. The 6-foot-5, 250-pound target last played for the Bears but was released at the end of training camp.

Housler won't be eligible to participate with the Patriots during the postseason, but he will be available for the offseason program and training camp leading up to the 2017 campaign. 

Housler taken in the third round by the Cardinals with the 69th overall selection in 2011. In 65 career games, he has 109 catches for 1,166 yards and one touchdown. 

The Patriots may have been intrigued by Housler's skill set last summer when he caught one pass for 52 yards -- making two Patriots defenders miss in the process -- during a preseason game at Gillette Stadium. The Patriots and Bears held joint training camp practices in August that would have given Patriots coaches and scouts a closer look at everything Housler has to offer as a player. 

Housler was one of the better athletes at the NFL Scouting Combine in 2011, running a 4.55-second 40-yard dash (fastest among tight ends), posting a 6.9-second three-cone drill, and recording a 37-inch vertical leap.

Bill Belichick and his staff hit big on a future-contract signing two years ago when a running back with a significant injury history was available to scoop up at the behest of then-assistant to the coaching staff Michael Lombardi. Since then, the Patriots still have never lost with Dion Lewis in uniform.