June 12, 2012

Addai switches sides in Patriots-Colts rivalry

The Associated Press

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — New Patriots running back Joseph Addai isn't concerned about switching sides in one of the NFL's fiercest rivalries.

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New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady hands off to running back Joseph Addai during an NFL football team workout in Foxborough, Mass., Thursday, May 24, 2012. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

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New England Patriots running back Joseph Addai carries the ball during practice at the NFL football team's facility in Foxborough, Mass., Thursday, June 7, 2012. (AP Photo/Stephan Savoia)

"I think for the fans it's a rivalry, but at the same time we all know each other," the former Indianapolis Colt said Tuesday after the first day of New England's mini-camp. "When you get on the field it's a business thing, so you've got to go out there and you play hard."

Addai spent six years with the Colts, rushing for 4,453 yards and 39 touchdowns. While he was in Indianapolis, the Colts and Patriots played six times in the regular season and in the 2007 AFC championship game, which Indianapolis won when he scored the game-winning touchdown with 1 minute left.

But the Colts are rebuilding, allowing Peyton Manning to leave for the Denver Broncos as a free agent and replacing him with No. 1 overall draft pick Andrew Luck. Addai signed a one-year deal in New England.

Addai isn't the first one to switch sides in the rivalry: kicker Adam Vinatieri and defensive lineman Dan Klecko played for New England before signing with the Colts. The Patriots and Indianapolis will meet this year on Nov. 18; New England plays Denver on Oct. 14.

"You watch them over the years, just playing, and how dedicated they are, I'm glad to be a part of it," he said. "We play them every year and you know what they're about. You know how they go about things, and I got a chance to come in for an interview, and I was excited about that and they liked what they saw and actually picked me up. So I think it'll go good."

Addai said he's thinking of his career as "a year-to-year thing." Right now, he's most concerned about mastering the Patriots' playbook and helping his new team return to the playoffs.

Addai replaces BenJarvus Green-Ellis, who signed with the Cincinnati Bengals after four seasons with the Patriots in which he rushed for more than 1,000 yards once, in 2010. He ran for 24 touchdowns over the last two seasons and didn't lose a fumble.

"I feel like a rookie ... as far as understanding the plays," Addai said. "I think I'm at that point and every day is getting better. Coaches are helping me out, players are helping me out and it's that much better."

Among them is Tom Brady.

"It's good to have Tom in the huddle because he does a lot. He talks to you about a lot of things. Obviously he's the quarterback and he knows everything that's going on so he can always help me out. Just little small talks in the locker room, in the training room, in the meetings, just kind of talk to him, just trying to see how's he's thinking so I get on the same page."

Asked to compare his new quarterback with Manning, Addai said, "I would say both winners."

"I think the difference is I started off over there as a rookie. I'm in my seventh season, so I handle it a little bit different," Addai said. "But it's a great opportunity to play with those guys, as well as other players on the teams."

Also Tuesday, the Patriots claimed tight end Jake Ballard off waivers from the New York Giants and placed rookie tight end Brad Herman on injured reserve.

(Continued on page 2)

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