FOXBORO, Mass. — BenJarvus Green-Ellis wasn't about to relocate. Not after spending a large chunk of the offseason with Kevin Faulk and other Patriots teammates, and not after reporting to Gillette Stadium after the lockout.
Wednesday's announcement only confirmed the inevitable: The restricted free agent will be in New England for at least one more season. Even Nick Caserio, the director of player personnel for one of the most secretive organizations in sports, said Sunday that the deal would happen this week.
Even with the crowded backfield, which is stacked with two draft picks, a budding folk hero, a Patriot legend and another respected veteran, the Patriots weren't ready to part ways with Green-Ellis, who was the franchise's first 1,000-yard rusher in six years.
"It’s time right now to get ready to play football and get ready for the 2011 season," Green-Ellis said Wednesday. "I’ll just be happy to get out here [Thursday] and practice with the rest of my teammates."
The timing of the deal wasn't all that important, really. Due to the NFL's convoluted post-lockout rules, Green-Ellis wouldn't be eligible to practice until Thursday anyway. He'll debut on the practice field with veterans Faulk and Sammy Morris, and the trio will join Danny Woodhead, Shane Vereen and Stevan Ridley.
It remained unclear whether or not Green-Ellis simply signed his restricted free agent tender, which would keep him in New England for a season, or if he signed a longer deal. Green-Ellis, who always keeps things tight to the vest, wouldn't comment on his new deal, either.
"I let the [agents] and everybody else handle the contracts," he said. "Of course, I’m keeping the contract situation out of the news. I’ll let them handle that."