Woods: Groundskeeper to Patriot

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Outside linebacker Pierre Woods had been working as a groundskeeper at his alma mater, the University of Michigan, when his phone rang with unexpected news. It was his old team, the Patriots, saying they were interested in re-signing him to a two-year deal.

"I didn't see anything coming. I was very surprised," Woods said as he walked through the locker room Wednesday morning in a blue hooded sweatshirt, the hood kept over his head so he could remain anonymous.

Later, Woods stopped at his locker and answered questions from reporters on the day he returned to the team in place of Shawn Crable -- another former Michigan linebacker -- who was waived on Tuesday.

Woods said he never really thought of returning to the Patriots after he was released Sept. 4 on the final roster cutdown day. He figured he'd land with another team, but only had one workout, with the Chiefs.

"Nothing happened, so I was just working out, twice a day. You just have to keep faith," he said. "It feels great to be back. Everybody accepted me, I'm happy to be back, it's an opportunity and I'm going to make the best of it. I'm ready to work."

Woods said he didn't follow the Patriots too closely, other than keeping in touch with some of his former teammates. He had stopped looking at the waiver wire, and because he didn't have cable television at his home, he only saw highlights of games while at work.

Woods wore jersey No. 58 in his first stint with the Patriots. With veteran linebacker Tracy White donning 58, Woods will now wear No. 53.