In his first stint with the New England Patriots, Donte Stallworth didn't exactly pan out the way people though when he signed a six-year, $30 million contract. In 2007, his only year in New England, Stallworth caught 46 passes for 697 yards and three touchdowns.
Because Stallworth didn't perform up to his incentive laden contract, the Patriots chose not to pick up his expensive option, and let him walk in free agency. After four seasons, the Patriots and Stallworth have crossed paths once again.
The Patriots and Stallworth agreed last week on a one-year contract with an undisclosed salary base for 2012. Stallworth will join an already crowded receiving corp that includes Wes Welker, Brandon Lloyd, Deion Branch, Chad Ochocinco, Matthew Slater, Tiquan Underwood and Britt Davis. In order to win a spot in this group, Stallworth will have to really stand out, and that's something he's prepared to do.
Stallworth took to Twitter to let Patriots fans know the following:
This time around, things will be different....— Donte' Stallworth (@DonteStallworth) March 19, 2012
What exactly did he mean by that? Stallworth joined ESPN Boston's Adam Jones on his daily radio show to talk about how grateful he is to come back to the Patriots and how he believes it'll be different, this time around.
"At that time of my career, I was still learning," Stallworth said. "I actually thought I knew what it meant to be the best, but once I left there is when I really understood how to take care of your body and how to eat right -- just the way they prepare in the Patriots organization.
"I was in my [sixth] year that season, but I was one of the younger guys. That's pretty rare in this league. You don't get that much. Usually the sixth-year guys are one of your top veterans, so I was able to learn and just watch all those guys and learn from them. That was huge for me." (via ESPN Boston)
Stallworth, as we all know, comes to New England and back into the arms of the Kraft family four years after he was convicted of DUI manslaughter in Miami, Florida which resulted in the loss of 59-year old Mario Reyes' life. Stallworth served 30 days in prison and two years on house arrest. He was set to play his second season with the Cleveland Browns, the team he left the Patriots for in 2008.
After serving his time, Stallworth played a rather forgetful rusty season for the Ravens in 2010 before showing signs of promise in 2011 with the Washington Redskins. He caught 22 passes for 309 yards and two touchdowns in a rather pedestrian Redskin offense with Rex Grossman at the helm.
With the Patriots however, Stallworth will have far more hurdles to clear than he had last season in Washington. At best, he's number four on the wide receiver depth chart and a possible special teams player. I understand he's got a troubled past, but he's fought his way back and has stayed out of trouble ever since. Even though the odds are tough to predict, I'm pulling for you, Donte'.