Former Patriots cornerback Kyle Arrington talked about how happy he was to sign a three-year contract with the Ravens. (Kevin Richardson/Baltimore Sun video)
Kyle Arrington wasn't surprised, but he was certainly disappointed.
He had been a New England Patriot for six years. During that span, he went from a little-known undrafted free agent to a key member of the Patriots secondary. He went to the playoffs every year and was just three months removed from celebrating a Super Bowl victory.
But early Monday morning, Patriots coach Bill Belichick informed Arrington of his pending release.
"It's very concerning, I guess, initially," Arrington said. "You get the call. Belichick sat me down to give reasons why certain things go certain ways, and understandably so. After six, seven years, I definitely know the business part of the game. But everything happens for a reason, so to now be a Raven, I'm too excited, too thrilled. I already can't wait to get to work."
Arrington, 28, passed his physical Thursday and finalized a three-year, $7 million deal with the Ravens that has a maximum value of $8.25 million. The pact contains $2.8 million in guaranteed money, which includes a $2 million signing bonus and $800,000 in base salary for 2015. It puts him very close to the $3 million base salary that he was due to make with the Patriots before his release.
The deal also brings him back to his home state. Arrington grew up in Accokeek and played football at Gwynn Park High School in Prince George's County. He was en route to dinner to celebrate his father's 60th birthday Wednesday night when he got the call from his agent, Richard Kopelman, informing him than an agreement with the Ravens had been reached.
"The potential to be back here in Maryland, I almost felt like I was a kid waiting on Christmas," he said. "I was trying to let my [agents] do what they have to do as far as how that goes and I don't want to step on their toes. But at the same time, I'm sitting there waiting by the phone like, 'OK, let's get this thing done. Let's make it a reality.' I'm too excited, family is too excited. My phone has been blowing up obviously. To be able to play in your own backyard and have your family and friends watching, we're thrilled."
Arrington had only positive things to say about the Patriots, insisting that he has no hard feelings toward them and thanking Belichick and owner Robert Kraft. He couldn't help but laugh at the fact that two days after his release by the Patriots, he was joining one of their foremost playoff rivals in recent years.
"Being up there in New England, we had a few things to say about the folks down here and I'm sure the folks down do vice versa. To be on the opposite side of the fence will be interesting," he said.
Arrington started 56 games and had nine interceptions in six seasons with the Patriots. However, his playing time decreased last season as he started only four games and was on the field for about 40 percent of New England's defensive snaps.
However, the Ravens, who have been trying all offseason to add a veteran cornerback, view him as a great fit because of his versatility, and his ability to play the slot corner role and excel on special teams.
"Kyle is really, I think, a great get for us," said Ravens defensive coordinator Dean Pees, who was Belichick's staff in New England during Arrington's rookie season. "He is a multiple, to me, type defensive back that can play multiple spots. He's not just a corner. The guy can play nickel, he can play dime, he can play safety. He'll just do an awful lot of things for us."
Arrington, who said that he was flattered by Pees' comments, can't wait to get started.
"To be part of the Patriots franchise for X amount of years and now to be a part of this franchise, it doesn't get any better," he said. "Now, I'm looking forward to putting on my hard hat and getting to work."
Note: To make room for Arrington on the roster, the Ravens released linebacker Andrew Bose, an undrafted free agent out of Rhode Island. The Ravens signed Bose on Monday after he tried out for the team at the rookie minicamp.