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Sports

December 12, 2013

TE D.J. Williams gets another chance with Patriots

FOXBOROUGH — D. J. Williams finally has his packing strategy down. Now he’d like to master the Patriots playbook.

The tight end has been cut three times in just over three months. And he’s with New England again after Rob Gronkowski was sidelined for the season.

It’s Williams’ latest destination in a year when he’s had to be ready to travel to find work.

“I used to have two bags. I got it down to one,” he said yesterday. “I YouTubed some packing techniques.”

Williams spent his first two pro seasons with the Green Bay Packers before being cut Aug. 31. The Jacksonville Jaguars signed him the next day and used him in seven games before releasing him Nov. 4. The Patriots claimed him Nov. 27, used him sparingly in one game, then cut him Dec. 4 before re-signing him Monday.

He’s wrestling with the playbook again and trying not to confuse it with those in Green Bay and Jacksonville.

Fortunately, tight end Matthew Mulligan — who also was signed, cut and re-signed by the Patriots this season — was teammates with Williams in Green Bay this past offseason. When Williams struggles to understand a play, Mulligan tells him which Packers call it’s similar to.

“It’s just the terminology,” Williams said. “The concepts are pretty much the same.”

His previous stint with the Patriots gave him a head start on the complex offense.

“Now I’m able to break the huddle and know if I need to go right or left,” Williams said with a smile. “So that’s a big start.”

He returned to his home in Arkansas after being cut by the Patriots then was flying back last Sunday even before Gronkowski was hurt. He said he hoped to be at the Patriots’ game, a 27-26 win over the Cleveland Browns, but his flight was delayed. So he was in the air when Gronkowski tore his ACL and damaged his MCL in the third quarter, ending his season.

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