- Mike Reiss, ESPN Staff Writer
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FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Veteran receiver Donte’ Stallworth figured he’d be playing somewhere this season, so when the Patriots cut him at the end of training camp he didn’t envision it would take until Dec. 4 to sign a contract.
Turns out it was right back where he started.
“I understand the business of this game. When I was released earlier, it was obviously a disappointment [because] this is a great organization to play for and a great fan base," Stallworth said Wednesday. "My main thing over these past few months was to stay in good shape and train hard, and hope for an opportunity. Thankfully I got it now.”
The Patriots brought the 32-year-old Stallworth back on Tuesday after placing receiver Julian Edelman (broken foot) on season-ending injured reserve.
Stallworth said he had worked out for the Dolphins and Bills this season, and had the Bills not had some unexpected injuries, he might have been signed. Instead, he was forced to wait patiently as he trained near his Miami-area home.
Had fellow veteran Deion Branch (hamstring) been healthy, Stallworth might have not gotten the call, as Branch still has a locker intact inside the Patriots' locker room. Both players’ knowledge of the system makes them valuable to the Patriots in an emergency situation.
“That’s one of the things that enabled me to come back here, the fact I am familiar with the offense and played in the offense before,” said Stallworth, whose locker is between running back Danny Woodhead and fullback James Develin, far away from the other receivers.
“It made it a lot easier, but being out as long as I have, it’s still not like a video game where you can throw someone in and they automatically know what’s going on. It’s like I’m back in school studying. I’ll be studying hard every day.”