There's a lot of pushing and shoving in Terrance Knighton's line of work. As a mammoth defensive tackle in the NFL, he's used to it.
So when push came to shove to decide where Knighton would continue his career, it was an easy — and obvious — choice for him.
"I just followed my heart and my heart told me to go to New England,'' the Connecticut native and newest Patriot said Wednesday. "I have a lot of respect for the Washington Redskins and their organization. Earlier in the process I was told they were going to move in a different direction and they showed interest late once New England did. I just felt like it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to play for a team that obviously I loved to watch play growing up . . . and being able to play for this great coaching staff.''
Knighton is a huge fan of the local pro franchises, explaining that growing up in Connecticut, "I think at birth you have a choice — either Yankees or Red Sox — and I chose to go with Boston. I'm a big Boston Celtics fan, Red Sox, Bruins, obviously Patriot fan growing up.''
The former Jaguar, Bronco, and Redskin even enlisted the help of a former Patriot he admired watching and competing against to get some inside information on what to expect about life in Foxborough.
"I had a long talk with Vince Wilfork obviously before signing, and he was telling me that it's a grind but at the end of the day it's football,'' he said. "It's a good environment to be around, it's a good building to be in, and he had nothing but good things to say about the organization. I'm just excited and I'm just looking forward to getting in the building and learning as much football as I can and being around the guys.''
Knighton takes up a lot of space and his weight has been a talking point throughout his career. He's even the star of a popular and humorous tire commercial where he is playfully asked (while riding in a car) if it's his first time on a treadmill. Knighton looks at his inquisitor and asks, "What are you saying?"
The 6-foot-3-inch Knighton, who reportedly played between 350 and 370 pounds last season (he declined to put an exact figure on it), said he's lost weight and is committed to keeping it off. Nicknamed "Pot Roast," he does have a weight clause in the one-year contract he signed with the Patriots but is confident his size won't be a hindrance.
"Last year I was obviously heavier than I am right now. I'm in a lot better shape than I was last year,'' he said. "Contractually, I have things, weights that I need to hit. Whatever the coaches want me to play at, then that's what I'll be at. It won't be a problem.''
Knighton's deal calls for a base salary of $900,000 with a signing bonus of $250,000. It also includes a $100,000 workout bonus, up to $500,000 in game-day roster bonuses, and other incentives. He has a salary cap charge of $2.018 million.
The Temple product, who isn't a fan of being labled a rotational player, nevertheless figures to be part of a pretty good rotation with New England.
He'll team with veterans Alan Branch and fellow ex-Redskin Frank Kearse along with younger players Malcom Brown and Dominique Easley. Knighton is confident he'll fit right in with whatever the Patriots want to do on defense.
. . .
Tight end Clay Harbor got a two-year deal worth $3 million that includes a $400,000 signing bonus and another $1 million in incentives, but realistically it's two separate one-year, $1.5 million contracts with an option bonus needed to trigger the second year.