FOXBORO, Mass. — It's wild how things worked out with cornerback Will Allen and the Patriots.
Allen was released by the Dolphins during final roster cuts last September, and the Patriots brought him in for a visit soon thereafter. For a moment, it looked like the two sides would reach an agreement, but the Dolphins had second thoughts after their season-opening loss to the Patriots, in which Pats receiver Wes Welker torched cornerback Benny Sapp for a 99-yard touchdown on national television. Almost immediately, the Dolphins cut Sapp and re-signed Allen.
The Patriots made sure to close the deal this offseason, signing Allen to a one-year contract.
"It worked out," Allen said Tuesday with a wide grin.
Allen, a first-round pick from Syracuse in 2001, adds 11 years of experience to a young group of Patriots cornerbacks, but he'll have to work to earn a spot on the roster. New England has an All-Pro in Devin McCourty, a 2011 second-round pick in Ras-I Dowling, last season's interception leader in Kyle Arrington and AFC Championship hero Sterling Moore.
Allen spent his first five seasons with the Giants, but he was with Miami for the last six years, so Patriots head coach Bill Belichick is familiar with his work. Allen has been a versatile cornerback, playing plenty of reps outside and in the slot, where he has spent a large portion of his recent work.
"Just being involved back [in the secondary] for quite some time, I feel like I can pretty much play wherever I'm put back there," Allen said. "But as far as experience, I've probably been in most situations that you can probably get into in the course of the game, so I think I have some value there."
Allen tore his ACL midway through the 2009 season and missed all of 2010, but he said his knee is fine at this point. He's also been "excited" with the intensity of the Patriots' offseason workouts, noting strength and conditioning coordinator Harold Nash has been "kicking [his] butt" throughout the program.
"When you see something that works for a long time, as it has [in New England], you kind of admire it a little bit," Allen said. "I'm grateful to be here, and I'm just trying to work as hard as I can right now to put myself in the best position to help this team."
It might have taken longer than expected, but Allen is excited to finally unite with the Patriots.