FOXBOROUGH, Mass. - The New England Patriots signed three unrestricted free agents today; linebacker Adalius Thomas, tight end Kyle Brady and running back Sammy Morris. Terms of the agreements were not disclosed.
"Personally and professionally, we are very impressed with Adalius Thomas," said Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick. "His playmaking, toughness, intelligence, versatility and character were all factors in our decision to pursue him. Adalius has contributed in many ways to some excellent defensive units and we look forward to getting to work with him."
Coach Belichick also offered the following comments on the Patriots' newest tight end. "Kyle Brady is a tough, smart and dependable player. His familiarity with our system and his consistency make him a good fit for our offense. We are excited to add him to our tight end group."
Morris joins the Patriots after seven seasons with divisional rivals Buffalo (2000-03) and Miami (2004-06). "Sammy Morris is a good all-around running back," added Coach Belichick. "From his years in the division, we have first-hand knowledge of all his skills; running, receiving, blocking and several roles on special teams."
Thomas, 29, is a veteran of seven NFL seasons and has played in 96 career games with 73 starts, all with the Baltimore Ravens (2000-06). The 6-foot-2-inch, 270-pound linebacker has recorded more sacks over the last three seasons than any other NFL linebacker, totaling 28.0 sacks from 2004-06. Thomas has totaled 436 career tackles (287 solo), including 38.5 sacks for 242 yards, six interceptions for 120 yards and two touchdowns, 50 passes defensed, 15 forced fumbles, six fumble recoveries (including three returned for touchdowns) and 78 special teams tackles. Thomas has been selected to the Pro Bowl twice - as a special teams player following the 2003 season and as a linebacker following the 2006 season. In the Pro Bowl following the 2006 season, Thomas started at outside linebacker for the AFC team (coached by Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick) and returned a fumble 70 yards for a touchdown in the game.
In 2006, Thomas set career highs with 11.0 sacks and 106 tackles (75 solo) while starting every game on a Baltimore Ravens defense that led the NFL in allowing just 12.6 points per game. Thomas' 11.0 sacks last season led all Ravens defenders and tied for the fourth highest total among all NFL linebackers. Thomas recorded a sack or shared in a sack in 11 of 16 regular-season games in 2006 and tallied at least one sack seven times in an eight-game span during the season.
Thomas was drafted by the Ravens in the sixth round (186th overall) of the 2000 NFL Draft. After playing in three games as a rookie, the Southern Mississippi product played in all 16 games with two starts in 2001 and recorded 39 tackles (27 solo) including 3.5 sacks and tied for the team lead with three forced fumbles. He also tied for the club lead with 18 special teams tackles that season. In 2002, Thomas started 12 of 16 games at defensive end for the Ravens and totaled 68 tackles (38 solo) including three sacks, and also recorded two interceptions, one of which he returned for his first career touchdown. Thomas earned his first career Pro Bowl selection in 2003 as a special teams player, leading the Ravens with a career-high 23 special teams tackles that year. He also started 11 of 13 games at linebacker and tallied 34 tackles (26 solo) including four sacks. Thomas started all 16 games for the first time in 2004 and totaled 80 tackles (48 solo) while finishing second on the team with eight sacks and recording a career-high four forced fumbles. In 2005, Thomas again started every game and set a Ravens franchise record by recording three defensive touchdowns (two fumble returns and one interception return), while leading the team with nine sacks and totaling 104 tackles (70 solo).
Brady, 35, is a veteran of 12 NFL seasons with the New York Jets (1995-98) and Jacksonville Jaguars (1999-2006). The 6-foot-6-inch, 280-pound tight end has played in 183 career games with 169 starts and has caught 334 passes for 3,449 yards (10.3 avg.) and 23 touchdowns. He has played in all 16 games in six of the last seven seasons and has played in all but nine games in his 12-year career. Last season with Jacksonville, Brady started 14 of 16 games at tight end. In eight seasons with the Jaguars, Brady caught 241 passes for 2,500 yards. His career receiving yardage total ranks third on Jacksonville's all-time list, and his reception total ranks fourth in Jaguars history.
Brady was drafted by the New York Jets in the first round (ninth overall) of the 1995 NFL Draft out of Penn State. As a rookie, Brady started 11 of 15 games for New York and caught 26 passes for 252 yards and a pair of touchdowns. He started every game in his final three seasons with the Jets (1996-98) and caught a career-high five touchdowns in 1998. He was signed by the Jaguars as an unrestricted free agent (transition player) on Feb. 16, 1999, beginning an eight-year run with Jacksonville. In 1999 - his first season with the Jaguars - Brady finished third on the team with 32 receptions for 346 yards and a touchdown. He set career highs in 2000 with 64 catches for 729 yards - both marks setting Jaguars franchise records for a tight end. Brady started every game in 2001 and finished third on the team with 36 receptions for 386 yards and a pair of touchdowns. In 2002, Brady recorded 43 receptions for 461 yards and four touchdowns - the second highest totals of his career in each of those categories. He played in all 16 games for the fourth straight season in 2003 while finishing fifth on the team with 29 catches for 281 yards a touchdown. After starting eight of 11 games in 2004, Brady caught 18 passes in 2005 while playing in every game with 14 starts. Last season, he started 14 of 16 games and caught five passes for 37 yards.
Morris, 29, is a veteran of seven NFL seasons and joins the Patriots after three seasons with the Miami Dolphins. The 6-foot, 218-pound running back was originally drafted by the Buffalo Bills in the fifth round of the 2000 NFL Draft out of Texas Tech. In seven seasons, he has rushed for 1,469 yards and scored 14 touchdowns on 374 carries. He also has 112 receptions for 792 yards. He played the first four seasons of his career with the Bills, starting nine of 53 games at running back. He signed with the Dolphins as an unrestricted free agent in 2004. In three seasons with the Dolphins, he started 14 of the 41 games played, rushing for 1,081 yards and eight touchdowns on 240 carries. He also had 51 receptions as a Dolphin. Last December, he started four games for the Dolphins and rushed for 255 yards on 63 carries (4.1 avg.), including a 123-yard rushing performance on 25 carries (4.9 avg.) against the New England Patriots. He finished the 2006 season with a career-high season average of 4.3 yard per carry.