Stroud believes he’ll fit right in

Depth for Patriots
By Shalise Manza Young
Globe Staff / May 18, 2011

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Before the NFL lockout began — a time that now seems so long ago — teams were able to do some business, such as releasing players and signing players who had been released by other clubs.

The Patriots came to an agreement with defensive lineman Marcus Stroud before the window on deals closed, signing the former first-round pick to a two-year contract in early March.

Stroud will add experience and depth to the Patriots’ line.

“I think I have a lot to offer,’’ the Georgia native said yesterday. “I have a lot of good ball left in me.’’

Traded from Jacksonville to Buffalo in 2008, Stroud initially struggled to make the switch to end in the Bills’ new 3-4 defense last year after a career spent as a talented tackle on four-man lines.

He arrived at training camp last summer trimmer, but the new position wasn’t an immediate fit. Many members of Buffalo’s defense had a hard time with the scheme change.

Owing him $10 million for the 2011-12 seasons, the Bills released Stroud in late February for salary cap relief and to give their younger defensive ends more snaps.

Stroud, who played alongside Richard Seymour at Georgia, had a few suitors when he hit the market and chose the Patriots.

“That was a no-brainer,’’ he said. “Any time you have a chance to be in contention every year — they have a great quarterback, great offense, great defense intact already. You want to go where you can just add in and keep plugging along.’’

Just over a month shy of his 33d birthday, the 6-foot-6-inch, 310-pound Stroud has been to the Pro Bowl more than he’s been to the playoffs; a Pro Bowl pick in 2003, ’04, and ’05, he has been to the postseason just twice, in 2005 and ’07 with the Jaguars.

With the Bills, he was on the losing end every time he faced the Patriots. Now he’s going from the AFC East basement to its penthouse with the defending division champions.

“It’s just a winning-type mentality,’’ said Stroud, who is training in Atlanta. “That’s something I want to be part of.’’

Stroud isn’t worried about his duties in the New England defense, saying, “Football is football.’’ He likely will have a specialized role, rotating in and out depending on the situation.

After his early exit from Buffalo, one league source predicted at the time of Stroud’s signing that he would arrive in Foxborough with a chip on his shoulder and in great shape. He doesn’t dispute that notion.

“Definitely. Yes,’’ he said when asked about having a chip. “I’m not going to talk about [Buffalo], but like I said, I have a lot left in me. I just have to get on the field and do my job.’’

There’s no timetable as to when he and his new teammates will be getting back on the field, thanks to the ongoing legal battle between the NFL and the players. Stroud is resigned to the idea that it must run its course.

But that doesn’t mean all of the waiting doesn’t get frustrating.

“It is, all of the going back and forth,’’ he said. “But both sides have to do what’s best for them. The solution is not going to be hammered out in a couple of days. If that was the case, we’d have it done.’’

Shalise Manza Young can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @shalisemyoung.

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