ENGLEWOOD, Colo. – Laurence Maroney gained both his share of yards and critics in five seasons with New England.

He’s looking to add more of the former while shedding the latter now that he’s joined the Denver Broncos.

“It’s always helpful to have a clean slate and start over from the beginning,” Maroney said Friday, 48 hours after the Patriots and Broncos swapped draft picks in a trade for the 2006 first-round selection. “All I want to do is come out here and help to do anything positive to help the team win.”

Maroney has rushed 675 times for 2,799 yards with 25 touchdowns in 52 games since entering the league. But when he slipped down the depth chart, the Patriots decided to cut ties and give him the chance for a fresh start.

Patriots Coach Bill Belichick said that while he respected Maroney, “it felt like it was the right time for us to move on,” particularly considering the perceived value gained in the trade.

Denver sent a 2011 fourth-round pick for Maroney while acquiring New England’s sixth-rounder next year.

Maroney currently isn’t practicing because of a thigh injury, but is pushing to return next week. He’ll fill the short-term void in Denver for a veteran No. 3 back behind starter Knowshon Moreno and backup Correll Buckhalter.

He may push for a regular rotation spot should he re-sign with Denver. Maroney is in the final year of the five-year contract he signed after New England selected him 21st overall in ’06. Broncos Coach Josh McDaniels earlier this week expressed an interest in Maroney being a core player beyond this season.

“I would love for this to be a long-term thing,” Maroney said. “You know Denver’s going to run the ball. I just want to come in and fit in.”

Maroney integrated well into New England’s offense but didn’t always stand out as much as hoped. Injuries were part of the issue. A rotational system by the Patriots also helped keep his numbers down.

Maroney’s career-best season was 835 yards in ’07.

“He’s a talented individual,” said Broncos receiver Jabar Gaffney, a teammate of Maroney’s in New England from 2006-08. “He can definitely run the ball. When he makes his mind up that he wants to hit it, he’s a real tough running back.”

But there’s part of the rub. Critics picked apart his running style, which he described Friday as “downhill” but many claimed he lacked decisiveness making his move to the hole and/or a willingness to initiate contact for extra yardage.

Maroney fumbled just once in his first 38 games as a pro but coughed up four during a seven-game stretch last year, which spurred even more debate about his reliability.

“They definitely criticized a lot,” Maroney said about the skeptics. “But it’s OK. I was a first-rounder, so I feel like they were looking at me in a bigger light than everybody else.

“It’s one of those things where it’s over now. That was then. Now I’m here with the Broncos and I’m focused on my future here.”

He acknowledged there were things in New England he wished he could have done differently, but he also said the running back-by-committee approach with the Patriots sometimes made it “hard to get a feel for the game.”