LaAdrian Waddle happy to jump from last place to first with Patriots

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Right tackle LaAdrian Waddle used the word “chaotic” to describe a stretch of 24 hours in which he was waived by the Detroit Lions, claimed by the New England Patriots, and flew to town to join his new team.

Some players see the end coming. Waddle didn’t in Detroit.

“I was definitely surprised, I’ll say that,” he said.

But the more he processed the unexpected turn of events, the surprise turned out to be a pleasant one. The Lions, with whom he entered the NFL as an undrafted free agent out of Texas Tech in 2013, were 4-9 and in last place in the NFC North. His new team is 11-2 and atop the entire AFC.

“That’s awesome, one of the best parts about that,” said Waddle, who has played in 30 games during the last three seasons (24 starts). “In Detroit, you were pretty much out of the playoff hunt. To come here and know we got some good ball still left to play, that’s definitely exciting.”

The 6-foot-6, 328-pound Waddle isn’t sure what type of role he’ll fill, saying his first goal is to learn the offense as quickly as possible. But it’s been nice for him to see familiar faces from Detroit, such as tight end Michael Williams and recently signed practice squad linebacker Kevin Snyder, among others. That has already helped him acclimate to his new surroundings.

Waddle, who has been assigned No. 68, tore his ACL last season and some observers in Detroit believed the injury was still affecting him this year.

“It’s feeling good,” Waddle said. “Just over time, every day I feel a little better. I feel like my old self, so I think we’re headed in that direction.”

As for heading to New England, he described his initial reaction as excited.

“I haven’t been here before, but I’ve heard how the organization is and how things are run, just how first-class the Patriots are. Just being here for a day, I can kind of see that and feel that already,” he said.