It was a convergence of feelings for cornerback Kyle Arrington on the day he officially signed his new three-year contract with the Ravens.
On one hand, Arrington is returning home. He grew up in Brandywine, Md., just southeast of the Washington, D.C. beltway.
On the other hand, the former six-year New England Patriot is stepping into a place he once considered enemy territory.
"Being up there in New England, we've had a few things to say about the folks down here," Arrington said with a laugh Thursday. "I'm sure the folks down here, it's been vice versa. To be on the opposite side of the fence, it will be … interesting."
Arrington is leaving one highly successful franchise to join another. As a member of the Patriots, he's faced the Ravens in the playoffs four of the past six years. He's coming off a Super Bowl win with the Patriots last season.
Now Arrington is looking for more continued success on the other side of the rivalry, and could be an important part of beating his old teammates. The Ravens lost two 14-point leads to the Patriots in January's divisional round largely because of holes at cornerback, holes that Arrington was brought in to fill.
"I'm just thrilled and excited to be part of a tremendous, proud, winning organization," Arrington said. "I really can't tell you how rewarding it is to be able to continue to be part of tremendous organizations like these."
Arrington said he isn't out for vengeance against the Patriots. Rather, he still has a chip on his shoulder after being an undrafted free agent out of Hofstra in 2009.
"I try to go out there and prove it to myself," he said. "I'm a blue-collar football player. I just like to put on my hardhat and go to work."
Arrington even played down how surprised he was when the Patriots released him earlier this week, much to the delight of the Ravens. Arrington was reportedly slated to count $4.625 million against the salary cap and saw a decrease in his defensive contribution.
He started over 80 percent of his games with the Patriots from 2010 to 2013, but had just four starts last season. Arrington's best year was in 2011 when he notched 14 starts, 88 tackles, 15 passes defensed and seven interceptions.
Now entering his seventh season, Arrington projects as the Ravens' No. 3 nickel cornerback, which suits the 5-foot-10, 190-pounder best. He'll be joined by starters Jimmy Smith and Lardarius Webb and will compete with Asa Jackson and rookie Tray Walker, among others.
"Kyle is really a great get for us," said Defensive Coordinator Dean Pees, who also coached Arrington when he was a rookie in New England. "This guy is a great football player. He's going to really add a lot to us."
Quite pleasing to Arrington is that he gets to play back in his home state. He grew up as a self-proclaimed bandwagon Ravens fan, though he also rooted for the Redskins.
Arrington said there was interest from several teams after he was released, but when General Manager Ozzie Newsome called, it was a "no-brainer." Arrington was on his way to a 60th birthday dinner for his father when he got the official news that the Ravens were signing him.
"The potential to be back here in Maryland, I was like a kid on Christmas," he said.
Check out photos of veteran cornerback Kyle Arrington when he was with the New England Patriots.