FOXBORO, Mass. — Patriots safety Ross Ventrone has only been in the NFL for four months, and he has already gotten the full experience of an undrafted free agent.
Ventrone linked up with New England after April's draft — he credits a big assist to his older brother, Ray, a favorite of Bill Belichick's who spent several seasons in Foxboro — and has fought to stay afloat ever since.
That dream died for a brief moment when he was released last week, but Ventrone was re-signed Monday and has gotten another chance to prove himself.
"I was pretty excited to be back, especially on this team," Ventrone said. "It's unbelievable to have another chance at it. It's really a good thing right now. I just have to make the best of it."
Ventrone was cut Aug. 15, which was the Patriots' first day back to work after the preseason opener against the Saints.
"It's tough," Ventrone said. "You go from so many ups and downs with this, especially with the position I'm in, but all that matters is I'm back now and having another opportunity to play in a game. I'm really excited for it."
Ventrone, whose nickname is "Rusty Benson" or "Benson" — a long story, he said, that goes back to fifth grade — stayed in the area during his week of free agency, and he received interest from other teams but was more than happy to take a second shot at things with the Patriots.
That?s how things worked out for his older brother, who is now with the Browns. Ray Ventrone, also an undrafted free agent from Villanova, was released by the Patriots on five occasions, and things have worked out well.
It just takes time, and Ross Ventrone has already had a first-hand look at this drill.
"I've seen it with him, a lot of ups and downs, and just kept working hard and just getting after it," Ventrone said. "I'm glad to be back now and working again."