Monday, August 8, 2011
Ellis on Rex & the Pats-Jets rivalry
By Chris Forsberg
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- After taking in his first practice as a member of the New England Patriots, defensive lineman Shaun Ellis did his best to kill his former team with kindness, but admitted that the lack of interest from the New York Jets after 11 seasons there left a bitter taste in his mouth.
"If you look at it that way, from an emotional standpoint, yeah, [the lack of Jets' interest left him bitter]," said Ellis, who wore shorts and T-shirts during New England's afternoon session and spent time with the strength and conditioning staff. "But you have to look at is as a business as well. [The Jets] had a choice of going after the guys that they feel like they need, or the guys they want to try to surround their team around. I just wasn’t in their plan. Like I said, I’m a Patriot now, I’m part of this family. I'm going to go out there and play my best."
Ellis and the Patriots reached agreement Sunday on a one-year deal, a league source told ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter. Ellis will receive $4 million this season with a chance to make another $1 million in performance incentives, a source told ESPN.com senior NFL writer John Clayton.
Asked about Ellis' decision to sign in New England, Jets coach Rex Ryan said Sunday: "The fact that he chose them, and all that, I think said before, there's no way I'm going to wish him well. There's no chance of that. I wish him to be healthy, but I don't want him to play that well."
Word clearly got back to Ellis, who offered nothing but fondness when referencing his time in New York.
"It’s Rex. I like to say I wish him well, and wish him all the success, so that’s how it is," said Ellis. Pressed on if he really feels that way towards Ryan, he added, "Yes, I do. I have a lot of respect for the guy. Obviously, I feel like it’s not mutual, but I respect him."
More from Ellis:
On his decision to join New England: "Basically, a lot of things went down and the Jets felt like they wanted to go in a different direction. So I made best decision for me and my family to come here... It was [surprising the Jets didn't want Ellis back]. It’s a business, the nature of the sport."
On being on the other side of the rivalry: "Guys change teams all the time. I’ve just been fortunate to play 11 years with the Jets. I had a great time, a great experience. It’s just one of those things. When it’s time to move on, you gotta move on. I’ve found a new home here, the guys have welcomed me in. I was a little hesitant at first; I had a little weird feeling. But once I got here, they made me feel welcome."
On thoughts on the Patriots before joining team: "It’s a team that always was on top of our division -- they still are today. [Ellis and the Jets] trying to catch them for 11 years, of course you feel something, a little kind of hatred towards the Patriots over those 11 years. I understand. They know what it takes to be a champion and they’ve been doing it. I’ve wanted to feel that feeling for however long, so hopefully that time will come."