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Belichick Welcomes Old Friend Pioli to Front Office

When the dust cleared after a couple days full of big name player transactions, the New England Patriots made a front office change late Thursday evening. Scott Pioli has joined the Patriots ranks as the team's new assistant director of player personnel.

The 34-year-old Pioli spent the last three years as the New York Jets' director of pro personnel and has worked with Bill Belichick for seven years.

"I have come to respect Scott Pioli as a fine evaluator of talent with a keen eye for stocking a team relative to its specific needs and system," stated Belichick in a written statement. "I have seen the positive results of Scott's very progressive player personnel system and am particularly impressed with his record of consistently integrating capable second and third tier players, as well as front line starters. Scott Pioli is a fine addition to the New England Patriots and I look forward to his contributions for years to come."

Pioli, who is the son-in-law of the Jets' Bill Parcells, was a pro personnel scout for Belichick in Cleveland from 1992-95. When the Browns moved to Baltimore, Pioli was named the director of pro personnel for the Ravens. In February 1997, he was reunited with Belichick in New York after accepting the director of pro personnel with the Jets.

In another front office move, Dave Uyrus will now be a national scout for college scouting. He will scout the "Top 150" college prospects for the upcoming college draft. Uyrus coached for the Pats during the Dick MacPherson era (1991-92) and also spent two seasons as the assistant defensive line and special teams coach. In 1993, he coached with Cornell University, but returned to the Patriots a year later as a pro scout. In 1997, Uyrus was promoted to director of pro scouting.

In addition to the front office shuffling, the Patriots carved out some cap space by restructuring the deals of Willie McGinest and Ted Johnson. The Patriots saved about $2 million against the cap for the 2000 season with the moves.

Also, the team made right of first refusal tender offers to five restricted free agents. Running back Derrick Cullors, linebacker Vernon Crawford, tackle Ed Ellis, safety Chris Carter and defensive end Brandon Mitchell all received $472,000 offers and will demand compensation in the form of a draft pick commensurate with the round they were originally selected by the Patriots if they were to sign elsewhere. Those offers will also count against the cap.

These front office moves round out two days full of roster shuffling. On Wednesday evening, tight end Ben Coates was released. Early Thursday afternoon, safety Lawyer Milloy signed a seven-year, $35 million deal with the Patriots. Then at the close of business on Thursday, 13-year veteran offensive tackle Bruce Armstrong was let go by the Patriots.

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