Shaun Ellis is switching sides in one of the NFL's most intense rivalries.
The two-time Pro Bowl defensive end signed with the New England Patriots on Monday after 11 seasons with the New York Jets. The Patriots also signed another former first-round draft pick, free agent defensive end Andre Carter, who has played 10 seasons with the San Francisco 49ers and the Washington Redskins.
Ellis, 34, had become the longest-tenured player on the Jets since he was taken 12th overall with a pick that New York obtained as compensation for letting coach Bill Belichick sign with the Patriots.
"It's the same; I'm just on the other side now," Ellis told reporters in Foxborough, Mass., after the Patriots practiced. "It feels like home. It feels like a place that's all about winning, like they have been. I'm just happy to be a part of it."
The Jets had said that they wanted Ellis back, but they offered only the veteran minimum of $910,000 and, Ellis said, refused to increase it substantially when he went back to them for a final offer. The Jets used their first two draft picks in April to bolster their defensive line, taking Temple defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson in the first round and Hampton nose tackle Kenrick Ellis two rounds later.
So Ellis joined the Patriots and, according to multiple published reports, received a one-year deal believed to be worth $4 million, with an additional $1 million in possible incentives.
"It's the nature of this sport," Ellis said of leaving the Jets. "I accepted it and found a new home. I just wasn't in their plan. ... I'm a Patriot now. I'm part of this plan."
Jets linebacker Bart Scott said he was sad to see Ellis switch sides.
"I think he deserved the opportunity to retire as a Jet," Scott said at the team's training camp in Florham Park, N.J. "It's one of those weird things. When you hear Shaun Ellis, you associate him with the green and white, but I wish him well and everything other than playing against us."
"The fact that he chose them and all that, like I said before, there's no way I'm going to wish him well," Ryan said Sunday. "There's no chance of that. I wish him to be healthy, but I don't want him to play that well. I know the way he is, too. He's going to be revved up, ready to go, and our guys will, too. So, it'll be fun, going against him, but, obviously, I've got a great deal of respect for Shaun."
Ellis' decision to sign with the Patriots is an odd twist in the rivalry that largely was spawned by Belichick's decision -- even as he was being promoted in New York -- to quit as "H.C. of the N.Y.J" and instead go to New England. To let that happen, the teams eventually settled on a package of draft picks, the best of which turned out to be Ellis.
Things also got spicy when the Patriots were caught videotaping the Jets' sideline signals. The Jets turned in the Patriots, who were fined by the NFL and forced to surrender another first-round draft choice.
"Of course, you built up a little kind of hatred toward the Patriots over the 11 years," Ellis said. "I understand what it takes to be a champion, and they've been doing it. And I have been wanting to feel that feeling for however long. So, hopefully the time has come."
"Certainly, Shaun has played a lot of good football against us," Belichick said. "He's been a very productive player -- he's durable and very consistent. It seems like every time we play him, he lines up there and we have a hard time with him. The fact that we had an opportunity to add him to our team, we feel fortunate."
Ellis made the Pro Bowl in 2003 and 2009, with his best seasons in 2003 and 2004 when he had 12.5 and then 11 sacks. He has 72.5 sacks in his career, trailing only Mark Gastineau's 107.5 and Joe Klecko's 77.5 on the Jets' all-time list. Ellis also holds the franchise record for most playoff games.
Ellis told The Associated Press last year that he hoped to play 15 years in the NFL and reach 100 sacks.
But when Ellis asked for a contract extension last offseason, the Jets cited their policy of having older veterans play out their contracts. Last offseason, he was mentioned as possible trade bait or that he might be cut.
"That was kind of like a slap in the face," Ellis told the AP then. "I've been here, and I felt like I've put in a lot of work for this franchise. I went through all the growing pains, along with the fans. I think I've probably been the most loyal Jet. I go out and play hard for the Jets and for the fans, and I feel their pain because I'm going through it, too."
Carter, the seventh overall pick in the 2001 draft, has recorded double-digit sack totals three times in his career. He had a career-high 12.5 sacks in 2002 with the 49ers.
"I think he's another high-quality individual, very professional, works hard, very well-conditioned athlete," Belichick said. "He's had a lot of production throughout his career. ... What we've seen him do the first nine years of his career, that we could use his ability on the edge."
Also Monday, the Patriots re-signed defensive lineman Gerard Warren, who had 3.5 sacks last season. Warren, the third overall pick by the Cleveland Browns in the 2001 draft, has 35.5 sacks in his career.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.