FOXBORO -- David Harris has been used to doing things one way for a decade as a member of the New York Jets. But when he walked onto the field for his first day of training camp practice in New England, thus began a foray into a whole new world for the 33-year-old linebacker.
"I don't think I've ever seen this many fans for a training camp practice," Harris said with a smile on Thursday.
The differences between life as a Jet and life as a Patriot don't end there, of course. You won't catch Harris putting down his former club -- he says he harbors no resentment toward the Jets for how their split came about during the offseason -- but he readily acknowledges the benefits of being in Foxboro.
It's all about football, he explained. And that's a good thing, because he doesn't have any time for much else right now after arriving to the club following spring workouts.
"I told some guys I feel like a transfer student, coming in late and pretty much hit the ground running," he said. "I have to spend more time in the playbook at night and in the morning and with the coachces to get me up to speed. That's expected for a new guy, and I'm no different."
Harris has been eager to learn how the Patriots do things well before he arrived in town. After he was released, he said he heard from multiple teams, but there was one call he received that ended the decision-making process.
"There were a couple inquiries," he said, "but once the Pats came, I already knew what time it was."
Now comes the work, which isn't limited to learning the Xs and Os of the Patriots scheme.
"The hardest thing is to pick up the playbook and learning teammates names and putting names to faces," he said. "I played against them for 10 years . . . but the guy behind the facemask, that's the main thing I'm trying to focus on right now."
Harris made up a group of off-the-ball linebackers during Thursday's session that included Shea McClellin, Kyle Van Noy and Elandon Roberts. Dont'a Hightower remains on the physically unable to perform list for now, but how Harris might impact Hightower's game will be one storyline to watch once they're able to share the field.