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Shaun Ellis knows what he’s in for: ‘I was born into this family’

08.20.11 at 6:23 pm ET

FOXBORO — Shaun Ellis has been sidelined on the physically unable to perform list since he first arrived in New England earlier this month, but it’s not like he doesn’t know the challenge that lies ahead. After all, he’s become pretty familiar with similar systems over the course of his 11-year career.

“I’ve kind of been through it a little bit — I was born into this family with [Bill] Parcells, being drafted by him, and going through that period my rookie year, and going through it with [Eric] Mangini,” he said after practice on Saturday, his first since coming off the PUP list. “You [just] have to get back into the swing of things.”

The 6-foot-5, 290-pounder, who was signed by the Patriots on Aug. 7, was back on the field on Saturday. He spent Saturday’s low-intensity walkthrough with a helmet, standing and watching many of his counterparts during the hour-long session. He did take part in the end-of-practice stretching and jogging.

“It felt good,” said the 34-year-old Ellis. “Just being on the field, around the teammates, moving around a little bit. It felt good.”

It’s been a frustrating stretch for Ellis the last two weeks — he’s been trying to get up-to-speed in other areas while watching his new teammates play a pair of preseason games.

“Lifting weights, running — doing some extra conditioning,” said Ellis when asked what he’s been doing over the last two-plus weeks. “[I’m] just trying to get caught up to speed with the rest of the guys. They’ve been running a lot, so I’ve just been trying to get caught up with them and get ready for the season.”

While Ellis has been sidelined, he’s watched the New England defensive line offer a pair of absolutely dominant performances, silencing Jacksonville and Tampa Bay in preseason action.

“It’s been great,” Ellis said of the performance of the Patriots’ defensive line over the first two games. “It made me want to be a part of it that much more. We have a lot of guys who can stop the run and also get after the quarterback — a lot of talent. I’m just eager to be a part of it and just go out there and contribute the best way I can.”

Going forward, Ellis said he isn’t sure if he’ll be good to go for the next preseason game — set for Saturday in Detroit against the Lions. (“I’m going to see this week. What Belichick wants me to do, that’s what I’m going to do,” he said.) But he believes that this New England defensive line could be capable of some “great things.”

“Just on names alone, it’s good. But we have to go out and put the work in in practice and all of us get out there and play together. I think it’ll gel,” he said. “We all have to work hand-in-hand. I think we all have the potential to do great things with this defense, but we have to get some practice in and get down the mental aspects of playing defense.”

Read More: 2011 training camp, Bill Belichick, Bill Parcells, Eric Mangini
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