Patriots agree to deal with former Jets DE Ellis

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Patriots agree to deal with former Jets DE Ellis

By Tom E. Curran
CSNNE.com Patriots Insider Follow @tomecurran
After a week of tire-kicking on assorted defensive linemen, a source confirms the Patriots are closing in on a one-year deal with former Jets defensive end Shaun Ellis, pending a physical. The news was initially reported by ESPN. Ellis is a 6-foot-5, 290-pound veteran about to enter his 12th year in the league. The 34-year-old has spent his entire career with the Patriots' AFC East rivals since being drafted in the first round out of Tennessee in 2000. Albert Haynesworth, his soon-to-be teammate in New England, came out of Tennessee in 2002. An up-front massing of Ellis, Vince Wilfork, Haynesworth, Mike Wright and a fleet of younger players could be amazing if health and spry legs are with them all.

In 15 games last season, Ellis recorded 4.5 sacks and one forced fumble. He was a major irritation for the Patriots in last January's playoff loss to the Jets with two sacks and constant presence in the backfield. He talked about that game here. Ellis also authored one of my favorite postgame field departure moments back in 2008. Witness here.

If Ellis' physical checks out, the two-time Pro Bowler (2003, 2009) would be another experienced and versatile addition to the Patriots defensive line. The Pats made a big splash trading for Albert Haynesworth soon after the lockout ended, and they have also picked up defensive end Mark Anderson, who has been playing behind Eric Moore and Jermaine Cunningham in camp.Previous to signing Anderson, the Patriots also worked out Matt Roth, Raheem Brock and Tommie Harris. The Jets drafted Ellis in 2000 with the 12th overall pick. They used the pick they received as compensation for Bill Belichick fleeing to New England to swing a deal with San Francisco to get up to 12. With the ever-changing nature of the Patriots' defensive schemes, it's hard to fully forecast how Ellis will be used. He's been a 3-4 defensive end. He moves to defensive tackle in the 4-3. He can also play end in the 4-3. He can be a three-down player and is terrifically durable. In a 4-3 set, the Patriots now have Ellis, Wilfork, Haynesworth, Wright, Myron Pryor, Ron Brace, Brandon Deaderick, Darryl Richard, Kade Westonand Kyle Love to roll through at the tackle spots. Wright and Ellis can go to the 4-3 end spots where Jermaine Cunningham, Eric Wright, Marques Murrell and Rob Ninkovich have been mixing in. The Jets were interested in keeping Ellis around but reportedly offered him only the veteran minimum. On Sunday, Jets coach Rex Ryan said of Ellis' decision, "The fact that he chose them.. there's no way I'm going to wish him well. There's no chance of that."Tom E. Curran can be reached at tcurran@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Tom on Twitter at http:twitter.comtomecurran

Patriots undrafted free agent signing Josh Augusta cut out pizza and lost a lot of weight

Patriots undrafted free agent signing Josh Augusta cut out pizza and lost a lot of weight

FOXBORO -- There are a lot of things in Josh Augusta’s past in football that makes him an intriguing player as the undrafted defensive tackle enters his pro career. Among them: a high-school career as a 320-pound receiver and fullback reps in college. 

Also in his past: About 50 pounds. 

That’s how much weight the Missouri product says he has lost since the end of last season, when he began slimming down from 390 pounds to where he is now with the Patriots. 

How did he do it? Cutting out pizza, for one. 

“I cut out all the fast food, late-night eating, cut out all that,” Augusta said Tuesday at Gillette Stadium. 

There were ample reasons to lose the weight. He’s had asthma all his life and has also dealt with sleep apnea and a thyroid condition in recent years. He wanted to be able to not only move better, but breathe better. 

Now in the 340s as he nears what he previously set as a 335-pound target weight, Augusta’s body is getting closer to what it was when he arrived at Missouri. 

“I feel faster. My breathing’s getting better, just because I lost the weight,” he said. “Just stay on track and hopefully everything still goes right.”

For Augusta, everything going right would entail him enjoying a long NFL career. For all the potential versatility with Augusta -- he says he could still see himself playing some fullback for the Pats if they wanted -- there was little surprise when he went undrafted given that he was not a consistent starter throughout his college career, which he finished as a second-stringer. There were also questions of his stamina, which he feels the weight loss has helped.

Yet the Patriots have done plenty with works in progress, particularly ones who can be used in multiple spots. As he looks to shape his professional career, Augusta thinks New England is the best-case scenario. 

“I feel great here,” he said. “I know I know I’m in good hands, just because of the history they have.” 
 

Quick Slants The Podcast: Arkansas coach discusses his Patriots pipeline

Quick Slants The Podcast: Arkansas coach discusses his Patriots pipeline

Listen to Phil Perry’s interview with Arkansas coach Bret Bielema, who has funneled his college players — James White, Trey Flowers, and others — to the Patriots in this edition of Quick Slants The Podcast.