FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Now in his 12th NFL season, defensive end Shaun Ellis experienced something for the first time on Monday night: He dressed for a game but never came off the sidelines.
The Patriots had second-year player Brandon Deaderick playing in Ellis' spot at left defensive end in the base 4-3, while also giving sub rusher Mark Anderson some snaps there. Up to that point, Ellis had started eight of nine games this season, earning the bulk of the snaps at left end in the base defense.
Such a change can be an adjustment for a veteran player, as evidenced by the struggles that Albert Haynesworth had in his brief time in New England, but Ellis said there is no struggle for him. He has his sights on one thing -- a Super Bowl ring.
"These guys have a ring and I don't have one, however you slice it," the 34-year-old Ellis said Thursday. "When things aren't going your way, you can pout, moan, bitch and complain, or do what's best. In the end, [Coach Belichick] makes the decisions. First and foremost, I'm a team player. I've always been that way."
Ellis has had a quiet season, coaches crediting him with eight tackles and one quarterback hit. With Deaderick coming off the physically unable to perform list on Oct. 29, and Ellis missing the Nov. 6 game against the Giants with a rib injury, the competition at the left end spot has increased.
While Ellis is coming off a game in which his role was significantly reduced, he said Thursday that he believes his "time will come."