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Patriots are keeping it simple with Andre Carter

08.08.11 at 6:09 pm ET

Andre Carter delivers a hit on Detroit's Matthew Stafford last season. (AP)

FOXBORO — When it comes to newly acquired defensive end/linebacker Andre Carter, it appears that the Patriots aren’t going to get too complicated. Asked Monday about what sort of conversations he’s had with the team about what his role will be going forward, Carter smiled.

“It was just simple — just put your hand in the dirt and go,” he said with a grin.

Simple enough. The 32-year-old Carter, who was picked up as a free agent officially Monday by the Patriots, was at his first practice on Monday afternoon. While he didn’t get into a serious rotation along New England’s defensive front, he certainly sounded excited to be with the Patriots.

“First and foremost, they do things the right way,” he said when asked about his thoughts on the Patriots before he signed in Foxboro. “It’s about accountability. Taking accountability for yourself and accountability as a team. It’s about playing as one. It’s about not having any ego’s — they say leave your ego’s at the door. And that’s one thing they all do well — they play together hard.”

Carter did not see much action on Monday, but was in pads with the rest of his teammates as he works to get up to speed as fast as possible.

“It’s like the new guy the first day of school. Granted, school has already started, but you try and get in where you fit in,” he said. “There’s constant communication with the coaches and players and just taking mental reps, and when you’re in, just try and make a good impression and see where you are mentally and physically.”

Carter does have some interesting ties to the Patriots. Selected seventh overall in 2001 — one pick after New England drafted Richard Seymour — his relationship with the Patriots goes back to a pre-draft workout with coach Bill Belichick.

“Andre is a player who I spent a lot of time with prior to him coming out in the draft,” said Belichick, who coached Carter’s father Rubin for a season when Belichick was an assistant in Denver. “I think he’s another high quality individual who’s very professional, who works hard, very well conditioned athlete. He’s had a lot of production throughout his career.”

A 6-foot-4, 255-pounder, Carter originally entered the NFL as a first-round draft pick (7th overall) of the 49ers in 2001 out of California. he’s played with San Francisco (2001-05) and Washington (2006-09). Overall, he’s played in 149 career games with 133 starts and has accumulated 517 total tackles, 66 sacks, 30 passes defensed, 15 forced fumbles and four fumble recoveries. He has registered double-digit sack totals three times in his career with a career-high 12.5 in 2002 with the 49ers and 10.5 in 2007 and 11.0 in 2009 with the Redskins.

However, those numbers plummeted last year when Washington went to a 3-4 — Carter’s strength appears to be as a pass-rushing defensive end in the 4-3 — and he ended with just 44 tackles and 2.5 sacks.

“Last year, when Washington went to the 3-4 defense, it wasn’t a good fit for him evidently in that system,” Belichick said. “But we feel like with what we’ll be asking him to do this year – relative to what he was asked to do last year, what we’ve seen him do in the first nine years of his career — that we can use his ability on the edge and he can be effective.”

“It was a great scheme, but just being the person I am, I’ve just been a defensive end,” Carter shrugged when asked about getting derailed by the 3-4 last season. “The 3-4 did create versatility in me, and I did my due diligence, [but] it’s a thing of the past, and I just have to move on.”

Read More: Andre Carter, Bill Belichick, Richard Seymour, Rubin Carter
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