FOXBOROUGH — The one year Daniel Fells spent as a tight end in the Denver Broncos locker room was when it was devoured by Tebowmania. He signed a three-year deal with the Patriots in March and he’s welcoming a 180-degree change in environment.
“It was a circus,” he said of playing with polarizing quarterback Tim Tebow, who has since moved on to the Jets. “But just like any circus, there’s good and there’s bad. So it’s just something you took it in stride.”
The bad was obvious.
“The media frenzy all day, every day,” Fells said. “That can be somewhat of a distraction sometimes. But [Tebow is] the type of person who just takes everything in stride, and he’s a truly genuine person. So he just kind of almost brushed it off. He didn’t let it get to his head.”
Gillette Stadium has a reputation for being the NFL’s equivalent of the Pentagon. But beyond that, between mastermind Bill Belichick and his brain-on-the-field Tom Brady, they have a stronger reputation for winning that ultimately lured the 28-year-old tight end.
“This is a championship organization,” said Fells, who caught three touchdowns last year. “So I didn’t really know what to expect. It’s something that I saw and welcomed the open challenge to go to an organization like this and see how things are done right in this league.
“They do things right. From an offensive standpoint, they go out there and put up points. They find the open man. It’s not about just one player. You have two good tight ends. There’s not a lot of teams that use both tight ends and get them all kinds of catches. There’s always just one guy that stands out, [but] you have a bunch of guys that stand out on this offense.”
Fells said he came “real close” to signing with the Patriots after visiting the team in 2010 when he was a restricted free agent with St. Louis but ultimately decided to resign.
“I was able to come out here and just meet with coaches and talk with guys and just see if it was a fit,” he said. “It ultimately boiled down to a business thing. I let my agent take care of things like that. But all things happen for a reason. It didn’t work out then, but things came full circle and it worked out for us this year.”
He will provide depth alongside Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez. Fells watched from a distance as Gronkowski put up a record-setting 17-touchdown season and Hernandez hauled in seven scores.
“It was definitely something that every week you turn the TV on and you’re see something new,” Fells said. “Just the things they were doing, it is revolutionary. I know that Bill is the type of guy who he finds different ways to keep defenses on their toes, or keep them back on their heels. They don’t really know what to expect. They don’t really know what’s going on. So he’s an innovator in that sense.”