Stallworth wants another chance at ring

May, 15, 2012
5/15/12
12:54
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FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Last season, wide receiver Donte' Stallworth was on his fourth team in five years, failing to make the playoffs with the Washington Redskins. This offseason, the 31-year old Stallworth returned to New England, looking for a shot at what eluded him and his Patriots teammates in 2007, when they lost to the Giants in Super Bowl XLII.

"Just wanting to have an opportunity to put a championship at the end of my name," Stallworth said. "I think we're one of many teams that has an opportunity to do that this year."

Signing a one-year deal on Mar. 23, Stallworth re-joined former teammates Tom Brady and Wes Welker, as well as offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, while the team has since brought back Jabar Gaffney, another of Brady's options on that 2007 squad.

"Josh, with him coming back, I think he'll obviously incorporate some of the stuff he's picked up over the past few years," Stallworth told reporters on Tuesday at Gillette Stadium. "You just have to get familiar with it again. That's one thing I've been doing right now, really trying to keep my head in the playbook. Once you're comfortable with the offense, that's the easy part."

For Stallworth, much has changed in the past five years. After one season in New England, he played in Cleveland in 2008 before a DUI manslaughter conviction in 2009 led to a season-long suspension. He returned in 2010 for the Ravens before joining the Redskins last season.

"I'm a lot more mature now than I was then. I feel like I'm playing better. I'm in a better place mentally, physically and I just felt like at that time I was still trying to mature and grow into a professional athlete," Stallworth said. "I feel like I'm a lot further down the road than I was last time.

"I think, back then, I was really more relying on my talent. Now that I'm going into my tenth year, I think I run better routes now and understand different coverages and what teams are trying to do," he continued. "That's a big thing because you always hear people say this game is 90 percent mental and 10 percent physical."

Stallworth joins a crowded position that includes Welker, Gaffney, offseason additions Brandon Lloyd and Anthony Gonzalez, and holdovers Deion Branch, Chad Ochocinco, and Julian Edelman, among others.

"It's going to be good competition; we're all friends, we all have known each other for a while and respected each other's games, so we're going to make each other better," Stallworth said. "We've been doing that now, with the workouts and really having fun, and the real fun gets to start on Monday when we start practicing. Who knows how it will play out, but I'm feeling good; I'm feeling healthy."

Mike Rodak

ESPN Buffalo Bills reporter

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