The Patriots are well into their offseason by now, but the one that was the most on the roster fringe all season -- Marquice Cole -- is still playing.

Signed by the Broncos days before the AFC Championship, Cole was with the Patriots for two seasons. A nickel corner and special teams guy, he was released and re-signed four times since March.

The Patriots kept him on a string and that was fine. The final time they released him was the day after Christmas. Cole -- who forced the overtime punt muff in the Patriots regular-season win over Denver -- hung on for a while. But when the Broncos called, Cole knew he had to stop holding out hope of rejoining the Pats.

“At that time, I felt like the writing was on the wall regardless of what my locker was doing,” Cole said, alluding to the fact the Patriots kept Cole’s locker intact. “I felt like, that far along, I needed to do whatever I could. And getting that call, I decided to jump on it.”

Cole was inactive for the AFC Championship that his Broncos won convincingly over the Patriots. He shrugged when asked about the weirdness of his ride.

“It’s just the nature of the beast in the NFL,” he explained. “Stranger things have happened. And I’m glad to be a part of it. This is how the game goes and you have to be ready to adapt. Even in New England I was constantly adapting week-to-week to what my role was. If I get an opportunity (Sunday), I’ll be ready.”

Cole holds no grudge toward the Patriots for keeping him on a string.