FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- There were a couple of fresh red paint marks on the silver helmet of Patriots defensive lineman Shaun Ellis, an encouraging sign after the veteran engaged in his first full-pads practice Monday since signing with the team earlier this month.
But while Ellis admitted his first session went "pretty good" and said he was just "getting into the flow," he stressed that it's the meeting room where he's able to make his greatest strides towards being ready for game action.
"For me, it's the meeting room," said Ellis. "I’ve played a lot of games. For me, it's the meeting room and just getting my mental reps. I think once I practice -- once I start going fully fully, it’ll come back to me."
Will Ellis be going "fully fully" enough to participate in Saturday's exhibition battle in Detroit?
"You always want to play the game," Ellis said with a smile, before admitting he's inching closer to full health. "I don't think anyone's 100 percent. Everybody's dealing with something. It's just about getting out there... trying to do the best you can."
In 11 seasons with the rival Jets, Ellis appeared in 170 games, registering 387 tackles and 72.5 sacks. Despite being eased in since joining the Patriots, Ellis stressed the passion is still there at age 34.
"Oh yeah, it’s all about winning," said Ellis. "I’ve been on other side of things for a while. I had a couple chances at it, but didn’t come through and I’m still pushing to get that ultimate goal."
Here are some other highlights from Ellis' six-minute Q&A with reporters:
On getting back up to speed: "I'm just trying to improve everyday. Just going through my routine -- the fundamentals of football. Keeping the emphasis on that."
On the potential for this defense: "It’s definitely a plus. We have a lot of guys that are playmakers, they are good at what they do. We just have to jell together and we’ll see what happens."
On monitoring off-the-field incidents with teammates like Albert Haynesworth: "I don’t. I just try to worry about myself, really. I don’t pay any attention to that."