Timing is right for Petrus, Patriots

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Third-year guard Mitch Petrus knew last Friday that he would be working out for the Patriots after their game against the Bills. Turns out the timing couldn't have been better.

When starting Patriots guards Logan Mankins (ankle) and Dan Connolly (back) left Sunday's game and didn't return, it created a need for more depth and increased the possibility that Petrus would not only work out for the Patriots, but sign a contract as well.

That's exactly how it unfolded.

"I went a week, a week-and-a-half without a call [after being released by the Giants Nov. 3] and they called me on Friday afternoon," Petrus relayed in the Patriots' locker room. "I worked out Monday and they signed me that evening."

That's how fast a player's situation can change and it was something the 6-foot-4, 320-pound Petrus was prepared for after the Giants let him go. His deal with the Patriots is a two-year pact, so while he currently provides depth to a banged-up position, he also could factor into the 2013 mix if he develops.

Petrus (pronounced PET-rus) entered the NFL with the Giants as a fifth-round draft choice in 2010. A former teammate of Patriots backup quarterback Ryan Mallett and Patriots rookie defensive end Jake Bequette at Arkansas, he is a veteran of 23 NFL games (3 starts). The Giants let him go when they activated tight end Travis Beckum off the phsyically unable to perform list.

"It was a good experience and I learned a lot. They are a great organization and there are no hard feelings," Petrus said of the Giants. "It was a great opportunity to play for them and now I go from one great team to another."

Petrus filled in briefly at left guard for the Giants last season, but said he's also comfortable on the right side and has lined up at center in practices with the scout team. In college, he was a fullback/tight end, and he turned heads at the 2010 NFL combine when he tied the combine record with 45 reps on the bench press. The Patriots struggled rushing in short-yardage situations Sunday against the Bills, and perhaps Petrus could factor into the mix as a fullback.

Asked to describe his style of play, he said: "Physical. More downhill. Play from power. I need to improve a little bit in space, but I love to run the ball."