Meet the new guy … No. 36, Lousaka Polite
|12.28.11 at 12:49 pm ET|
FOXBORO — The Patriots have steered clear from employing a traditional fullback the last few seasons — Heath Evans was the last full-time fullback on the roster. After he departed in free agency following the 2008 season, they would occasionally lean on Sammy Morris in that role, but they never had that traditional thick-necked, straight-ahead blocking back on the roster.
While the additional of Lousaka Polite may not dramatically change the look of the New England offense, it will also presumably give them some more versatility on the offensive side of the ball. The 30-year-old Polite is a veteran of seven NFL seasons with Dallas (2004-06), Chicago (2007) and Miami (2008-10).
At 6 feet and 245 pounds, Polite fits into that traditional fullback skill set — lots of snaps, but few carries. He has played in 75 NFL games with 27 starts and has 95 rushing attempts for 296 yards with one touchdown and 41 receptions for 233 yards and one touchdown. Polite has also played in two postseasons games, one with Dallas in 2006 and one with Miami in 2008.
Polite went to training camp with the Dolphins this past summer but was released on Sept. 3. Since then, he’s been waiting by the phone, working out and being a full-time father to his nine-year-old daughter, Anya.
“I was full-time with being a father,” he said. “Normally, during the season, I don’t have that time to spend with her, taking her to dance class and doing things like that was something that was new for me during the season. I was happy to have that opportunity.”
It’s been a long year for Polite, who was nearly out of the game for a full season after getting cut loose by Miami.
“You just never know,” he said. “As the weeks go by, you don’t know what’s going to happen. There’s always a little, tiny bit of doubt because you don’t know what to expect. You just need to stay ready and stay in shape. And luckily, I just got the call.”
Polite has been able to lean on a few former teammates who he has reunited with in New England, including Nate Jones (who he played with in Miami and Dallas), Mark Anderson (in Chicago) and Donald Thomas (in Miami). He’s still not sure what his role will be going forward — he does have special teams experience in addition to his work on offense — but said before practice on Wednesday that he’s “willing to do anything” to get on the field.
“I’m just learning, learning as much as I can. Everything is new to me, so I’m just trying to learn and we’ll just go from there,” he said. “I’m willing to do anything. I’ve played special teams, and I’m just willing to do whatever it takes to contribute to the team.
“I’m in pretty good shape, but you can never duplicate that game experience. But I’ll be fine. I’ll push through it. That’s part of football … staying ready and adjusting to the changes.”