“I’m a Patriot now. That’s behind me,” Addai told reporters on Thursday afternoon after the team’s third organized team activity of the 2012 offseason.
Addai was added during free agency, and it is believed that his versatility out of the backfield was attractive to head coach Bill Belichick. He has previous experience as a primary ball carrier, pass receiver, and is a highly-regarded pass blocker, all tasks he’s willing to continue in New England.
“Whatever [the] coaches ask me to do, I’m doing. It’s always team first for me. If he wants me to run, catch, block, whatever he wants me to do, I just want to be part of it,” Addai said.
Beyond his roles on the field, Addai may be counted on to mentor the pair of young running backs that the Patriots drafted last season, Shane Vereen and Stevan Ridley. That too is a role he’s ready to embrace.
“It’s a team sport, no matter what, you want to help guys, if you’re young or if you’re old. That’s never been a problem for me. At the end of the day this team is about winning,” he said.
It hasn’t taken long for Addai to see the promise in both Vereen and Ridley, who like Addai attended LSU.
“Real, real energized guys. Very motivated, eager to learn, want to do good. [When] you got guys like that, it’s easy to teach. You always want to come in there with the right mindset and help those guys," Addai said.
Part of Addai’s success in New England will likely be dictated by his ability to stay healthy, an issue that has plagued him in recent seasons. He says he feels good now, and that the Patriots medical staff has been critical to preparing him for 2012.
He’s been limited to just 20 games over the past two seasons, but Addai appears intent on looking forward and contributing to his new club rather than reflecting on seasons past. That calls for learning a new offense, but he shrugged off a question about the differences between the system he was a part of in Indianapolis and that which he is in now with New England.
“To me, it’s all about playing ball. I’ve got a great chance to be a part of this ballclub, and do what they do here, and I’m very excited about that,” he said.