GREEN BAY, Wis — If you didn’t know any better watching Thursday’s Patriots-Packers practice, you would’ve thought Ezekiel Elliott had been with New England his entire career.

The star running back finalized his one-year contract with the team Wednesday morning, hours before suiting up for Day 1 of joint practices in Green Bay. However, after participating during the stretching portion of practice and a brief walkthrough, Elliott spent the entirety of competitive drills watching from afar.

But things changed Thursday. The former Dallas Cowboy was a full participant, seeing time during joint 11-on-11 sessions with both Mac Jones and Bailey Zappe. He took handoffs, caught passes and appeared to be in great shape.

Still, it was what Elliott did without the ball in his hands that really stood out. The 28-year-old was engaged and energetic throughout, actively participating in a practice that saw nonstop trash talk and numerous skirmishes. He was loud and into it.

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At one point, Elliott ran to the end zone to celebrate with rookie receiver Kayshon Boutte, who scored a touchdown on a great throw from Zappe. Elliott’s behavior in that moment really stood out to Matthew Judon.

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“Just that little bit of excitement for a second day, and somebody he really don’t know in Boutte, it just means that he loves his team,” Judon said after practice. “So, that right there. And then, when everybody talking, when stuff gets going, you kinda lean and press into your teammates a little bit more — and that’s what he did.”

For whatever reason, some people who haven’t followed Elliott closely question his commitment to football. But Judon has no doubts about how Elliott will fit with the Patriots.

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“I believe Zeke loves football. I believe that with my whole heart,” Judon said. “You can see it from Ohio State until now. He’s gonna bring energy, he’s gonna bring excitement to the game. And he’s gonna buy-in.

“He’s gonna buy into the craft, into the system, into what we got going on around here.”

Featured image via Kassidy Hill/USA TODAY NETWORK Images