RICHMOND -- The ride from FedEx Field to College Park shouldn't take long, barring traffic. It's just a few miles around the Beltway, but for Joe Vellano, the trip took a little more than a year. Vellano excelled along the defensive line at Maryland for four seasons, but when his college eligibility ran out after the 2012 season, the NFL was not too interested. He signed as an undrafted free agent with the New England Patriots, and through a lot of hard work, played in all 16 games for the Patriots in the 2013 season.
Now, Vellano is in Richmond, practicing with the Patriots against the Redskins. Thursday night he will suit up for Bill Belechick and take on the Redskins, chase Robert Griffin III a bit and enjoy the NFL's preseason.
"It’s kind of a dream come true being on the field to compete against them," Vellano said.
Vellano said he was having fun competing against the Redskins offense, and how different it is to face a player like Robert Griffin III after practicing against Tom Brady.
"First time being down here is great," he said. "I spent a lot of time down here, it’s real cool to play in FedEx in the College Park area. Thursday will be a big game for us."
While the focus was on his Patriots, Vellano offered his thoughts on Maryland's move to the Big Ten as well.
"It’s a great move for them, and a big year for them as well."