The speedy Stallworth, 26, a former first round draft pick, gives New England a legitimate deep threat. But Stallworth has been injury prone, and questions about his character followed reports of chronic lateness to team meetings with the New Orleans Saints, who traded him to Philadelphia last year just before the regular season began.
The Philadelphia Inquirer also reported earlier this month that Stallworth is in the league's substance-abuse program. Asked about the report, Stallworth said, "All that stuff is in the past."
"There was a situation a couple years ago," he said. "There's nothing now that's going on that will affect me preparing for helping this team."
Stallworth had no problems with Philadelphia's coaching staff last season, and said Wednesday he realized his off-the-field approach had to change after some veteran players told him it was creating a perception that he didn't care.
"Once I heard that, that kind of hurt me," he said. "I've always been a team player. I've always worked hard and things like that.
"I mean, I'm getting old, man," he continued. "I'm 26. I've only got a few years left in this game. So you know, you just realize your opportunities. As every year goes by, that window gets smaller and smaller."
Last season, Stallworth had five touchdowns and 38 catches for 725 yards, for a league-best 19.1 yards per catch average, despite missing several games with a hamstring injury. Stallworth also played in the playoffs for the first time, and said New England's consistent success was a major factor when chose to sign with the Patriots, as was a chance to play with quarterback Tom Brady.
"He's definitely one of the best quarterbacks that's ever played in the modern era," he said. "It's kind of a no brainer."
The signing is part of New England's offseason spending spree that followed a loss to the Indianapolis Colts in the AFC title game. The Patriots also signed free agent receiver Kelley Washington over the weekend.
"When Donte' and Kelley were drafted, we were very interested in them as receivers who could help our offense and that feeling still exists," Patriots coach Bill Belichick said in a statement Tuesday.
Reporter Shalise Manza Young will have more on Stallworth tomorrow.