If Ellis Hobbs ever makes it to the Hall of Fame, it won't be for some time. His shoes won't have to wait. Yesterday, the Hall contacted Hobbs through the Patriots PR staff in an effort to retrieve his shoes as a keepsake from his NFL-record-long 108-yard punt return on Sunday. The third-year cornerback couldn't say "yes" quick enough.

If Ellis Hobbs ever makes it to the Hall of Fame, it won't be for some time.


His shoes won't have to wait.


Yesterday, the Hall contacted Hobbs through the Patriots PR staff in an effort to retrieve his shoes as a keepsake from his NFL-record-long 108-yard punt return on Sunday. The third-year cornerback couldn't say "yes" quick enough.


"That's an honor," said Hobbs, who added that the shoes he was wearing were brand new.


"I'm gonna make a trip (to Canton)," Hobbs continued. "I'm gonna call whoever I can to set that up, just to go witness it in person. I'd like to come back when I have kids and say, 'Daddy did something special."'


Something special, in fact, resulted from things going contrary to plan.


The call was for a left return, but Jets kicker Mike Nugent sent the ball deep into the right side of the end zone. From there, Hobbs faced a challenge in traversing the width of the field. Once he turned the corner, though, most of the coverage team had been cleared and it was smooth sailing.


Hobbs credited tight end Benjamin Watson for recovering off a missed block to pick up another cover man, safety Mel Mitchell for sealing a Jet safety on the backside and fullback Heath Evans for ushering the final obstacle in his way - Nugent - to the side.


The ball is being painted and will be signed by the 11 guys on the kickoff return team, each of whom will receive a $108 bonus, a buck for every yard, from Hobbs. And Evans added that each relished their little piece of history.


"Oh yeah," Evans said, "but even just for the team itself. You go back to training camp, you got scout team guys that are a part of that. We worked hard against a very good special teams group from the Jets."


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Activated on Sept. 1 by the Patriots, tight end David Thomas was hoping for a shot to play in the opener. He didn't even make the trip to Jersey, but said yesterday that any disappointment was tempered by a desire to achieve full recovery from the broken foot he suffered during the team's offseason program in April.


"The training staff, they do a great job and they've done a great job of getting me ready so far," said Thomas. "I trust their judgment and Bill (Belichick's) judgment. When they feel I'm ready and I feel I'm ready, I'll be out there."


Even without playing, Thomas has been plenty busy. While spending all of training camp on the PUP, he was lifting weights and rehabbing. And since coming off that list, he's been working himself into football shape.


"Training camp's tough, but you realize how important it is when you see your teammates go out to work every day and you're with them," said Thomas. "There's just so many reps they've been through, getting in football shape. There's a lot of things I need to get better at just to catch up with them and be even, much less improve on last year."


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In the locker after Sunday's win, Mike Vrabel opined that it's not "fair to label Jarvis (Green) as a backup." The six tackles and two sacks Green mounted, added to stellar play against the run across from D'Brickashaw Ferguson, backed Vrabel up and, yesterday, so did Ty Warren.


"Jarvis could be starting in any defense in this league," Warren said. "We definitely feel fortunate. We have a group of guys that have been together for a long time. ... Everybody's improving, everybody's different, and when their number's called, they just step in and do what they gotta do."


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The Patriots finally filled the eighth and final spot on their practice squad yesterday, inking Gemara Williams, who was released by the team on Aug. 18. Since, Williams has been tending to a hamstring injury at an Atlanta rehab center.


"Things happen and everything's a learning experience," said Williams, a defensive back with return ability. "I'm happy to be back." ...


A much publicized spat between Hobbs and Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers is finished, the corner said. After the teams' AFC division playoff, Rivers called Hobbs the "sorriest corner in the league."


"What's done is done, I'm at peace with it, we made our apologies," said Hobbs, who did an off-field rendition of Shawne Merriman's "Lights Out" after the game. "As far as me individually, I was in the wrong. That's over with." ...


The barbs were headed Ryan O'Callaghan's way yesterday, after the tackle debuted Sunday at tight end. When asked if O'Callaghan has hands, Belichick deadpanned: "two of them." And when Watson was asked how O'Callaghan played tight end, he joked "like an offensive tackle."


(Albert Breer is a Daily News staff writer. He can be reached at abreer@cnc.com or 508-626-3872.)