Today's special, tomorrow's star

BenJarvus Green-Ellis might not have reached the field as a Patriots running back if he hadn't worked his way into the kicking game, according to coach Bill Belichick. Elsa/Getty Images

Running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis might never have ascended to the Patriots' primary ball carrier if he hadn't impressed Bill Belichick with his work on special teams:


Since the start of the 2010 season, no running back in the NFL has more rushing touchdowns than New England's BenJarvus Green-Ellis. Considering the talent at that position across the league, it's a remarkable stat, but even more so when you consider how far the undrafted Green-Ellis has come in four seasons with the Patriots.

So what did Patriots coach Bill Belichick peg as the biggest area of improvement for Green-Ellis?

"Special teams," said Belichick, leaving reporters a bit dumbfounded by the suggestion. After all, Green-Ellis has played sparingly on special teams since becoming the Patriots' primary ball carrier the past two seasons.

"He didn't do much [special teams] in college and I didn't think he was really very good at it," explained Belichick. "It's probably one of the reasons why he didn't initially make our team."

Green-Ellis went undrafted out of Mississippi and despite landing with the Patriots, he was released as part of final cutdowns before the start of the 2008 campaign. Green-Ellis was inked to the team's practice squad and it might have ultimately been his ability to work his way into the kicking game that opened doors for a larger role.

Hop HERE to read the Chris Forsberg's full story.

[Your turn: Who's the next special teams standout that could ascend to a bigger role for the Patriots down the line? Sound off in the comments.]