Things weren’t supposed to end this way for safety Adrian Wilson and the Cardinals, not after signing a contract extension last summer that would have kept him in Arizona through 2015. So, when the team reduced his playing time in 2012 and released him in March before he would collect his $1 million roster bonus, it’s easy to see why his pride took a hit.

Wilson hadn’t really acknowledged it until yesterday when he was asked a simple question about his playing style, which reminds some of former Pats safety Rodney Harrison.

“I don’t know,” said Wilson, who signed a three-year, $5 million deal with the Patriots in March. “I felt like I’ve had a pretty good career so far. Last year was last year. Obviously, things didn’t go my way as far as the way I wanted them to go. Obviously, players slow down as they get older, but they also have experience. They’ve seen a lot of things as far as football.

“To say that a person is not good enough, that wouldn’t be the right verbiage to use as far as that is concerned. I feel like I could help this team win. That’s pretty much what I’m here to do.”

And Wilson sounded fully onboard with that. The 12-year veteran had been a Cardinals lifer, a five-time Pro Bowler and a well-respected player with an intimidating presence that he has used to levy an array of remember-me hits over his career.

Despite that, he was nervous to join a new locker room.

“It’s scary,” Wilson said. “Obviously, you want to come in with the right mindset, and you just want to get along with the guys really, and you want to kind of make sure you hang around them, get to know each and every guy. I think that’s probably really the biggest concern I have right now, is just trying to make sure I know all of the guys that I’m going to be playing with. Right now, we’re moving in the right direction.”

Wilson has meshed well. He started his Pats career by entering negotiations for Kyle Arrington’s jersey number, which has drawn a great deal of entertainment throughout the locker room. And Wilson quickly earned the nickname The Incredible Hulk from cornerback and resident comedian Marquice Cole. It stuck.

“I think it’s rather funny,” Wilson said. “Things like that happen, I guess, once you get to know the guys. I guess I don’t say much. I do what I do in the weight room, and I try my best to be Adrian Wilson every day.”

The level of acceptance has turned the uncertain transition into a fun experience. Wilson repeatedly praised the Patriots’ winning culture yesterday and said he has spent so much time at Gillette Stadium that he “(doesn’t) even know what Route 1 is.”

The Patriots have provided the right amount of aloe for that desert sunburn.