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Joseph Addai: ‘I feel like a rookie’

06.12.12 at 10:47 pm ET
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FOXBORO — Jesse Holley joked with reporters on Tuesday — after the first day of minicamp at Gillette Stadium — that learning the Patriots offense and the playbook is like learning Japanese.

Holley is just entering his third NFL season after two seasons with the Cowboys. For veteran running back Joseph Addai, he has slightly more experience — six NFL seasons — and one other HUGE advantage. Addai came right out of LSU was was drafted by the Colts, who, at the time, happened to possess one of the greatest signal-callers of all-time.

Going from Peyton Manning to Tom Brady certainly helps to ease the transition but the task of learning the Patriots offense is still daunting, just ask the recently jettisoned Chad Ochocinco. But Addai is willing to take on this task for the chance to play with Brady and have the chance to win a second Super Bowl.

“I feel like a rookie, as far as understanding the plays,” Addai said Tuesday. “I know some of the rookies are going to have their heads spinning because going from college to the NFL, it’s a tough transition. But for me, it’s just understanding the plays. You kind of know the ins and outs, how to do certain things. I think I’m at that point. Every day is getting better, coaches are helping me out, players are helping me out and it’s that much better.

“It’s the NFL. It’s professional ball, everything’s complicated but it’s how you go about it. I feel like I’m getting it but at the same time, you will make your mistakes and you’re supposed to learn from them, and that’s what I’m doing.”

As for going from Manning to Brady, Addai said he’s looking forward to his experience this week that will lay the foundation for late July.

“Everybody helps out,” Addai said. “It’s good to have Tom in the huddle because he does at lot and he talks to you about a lot of things. Obviously, he’s the quarterback and he knows everything that’s going on out there so he can always help me out. Just little small talks in the locker room, in the training room, in the meetings, and see how he’s thinking so you can get on the same page.”

There will be two interesting dates for Addai this season, should he make the roster. On Oct. 7 the Patriots play Manning and the Broncos at Gillette Stadium. On Nov. 18, again at Gillette, the Patriots play Addai’s former team, the Colts.

“I haven’t even seen the schedule yet,” Addai joked.

In an ironic turn of events, Stevan Ridley is now Addai’s teammate. He is also in his second year with the Patriots. And like Addai, Ridley made his mark in college at LSU in Baton Rouge. The two have naturally spoken.

‘€œHe’€™s asked questions, but there’€™s nothing that he hasn’€™t learned pretty quickly here with [Bill Belichick] because it’€™s pretty cut and dry here,” Ridley said. “There’€™s one way to do things and we come to work every day. It’€™s going to be hard and we’€™re going to run after practice, and that’€™s one thing that he says that we do more than anyone else is run. So he has learned that and adapted to that, but besides that it’€™s all football and as players, we just try make it that and not try to make it any harder than it already is. We just have to go out there and be who we are as players.’€

And how exactly does Ridley see Addai presence affecting the running back competition?

‘€œ[BenJarvus Green-Ellis] left last year and he was the main guy, so it’€™s wide open. But what we’€™re doing, we’€™re not the ones who say who it’€™s going to be; we’€™re just trying to go out there and learn this playbook. That’€™s all we’€™re doing. We’€™re not really focused on who’€™s going to be the guy or anything like that; we’€™re just trying to help each other out and learn together, because if we can all [learn] that playbook, then they can put us anywhere on the field and we can go out there and be successful. That’€™s when we do better as a unit. One person is not going to get it done all the way through the season and we know that, so we have to be able to depend on everybody.’€

What does Addai bring to New England?

During the 2006 season, Addai led all rookie running backs in rushing yards with 1,081. He also became the first NFL running back to exceed 1,000 rushing yards without starting a regular-season game – ever.

His first career start came on Jan. 6, 2007, for the Colts-Chiefs wild card playoff game. During the game, he ran for 122 yards and a touchdown on 25 carries and caught seven passes for 26 yards. For the next week, leading up to the divisional round of the playoffs, Addai became the target of Ravens linebackers Ray Lewis and Bart Scott‘s trash-talking, but did not respond to either of their comments as the Colts upset the favored Ravens, 15-6.

On Jan. 21, 2007, in the AFC championship game against the Patriots, Addai scored the game-winning touchdown with 60 seconds remaining, giving the Colts a victory and a trip to Super Bowl XLI. The Colts went on to win the game with their rush attack, dominating the Bears’ defense. Addai had 77 rushing yards and 10 receptions for 66 yards, for 143 total yards. His 10 receptions were the most ever by a running back in a Super Bowl, which left him one catch short of the overall record.

On Nov. 4, 2007, in a Week 9 game — again against the Patriots — Addai became the first Colt ever to gain 100 yards receiving and 100 yards rushing in one game. Joseph was rewarded for his play in the ’07 season by being invited to his first and only Pro Bowl in January 2008.

Now, Patriots want to find out if he has any highlights left in his game — and career.

Read More: Denver Broncos, Indianapolis Colts, Joseph Addai, New England Patriots
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