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Defensive tackle Thornton visits

After being spurned by fullback Richie Anderson and reportedly reaching an agreement with cornerback Tyrone Poole, the Patriots are continuing through the long free agency process with a visit from Titans free agent defensive tackle John Thornton on Wednesday.

A four-year NFL veteran, the 6-2, 292-pound Thornton has developed into quite a free agent prize this offseason. The former second-round pick out of West Virginia started all 16 games for the Titans last season. He finished the year with 20 tackles and two sacks for a defense that finished second in the NFL in rushing yards allowed per game.

According to his agent, Harold Lewis, the player has had numerous visits including stops in New England and Cincinnati, as well as interest from a number of other teams. And while Lewis said that he and his client do not have any time frame for getting a deal done, they have begun to discuss contract specifics with the Bengals.

"We are talking to Cincinnati about numbers and we'll just wait and see what happens in New England today," Lewis said. "We are only worried about getting John in the best possible place for him."

Lewis also said that he is not surprised by the interest that has developed in his client, who he considers to be one of the youngest and most talented players on the market.

"Just like at the combine when guys are put through physical tests, interviews and the Wonderlic, teams come up with an overall score or grade for a guy," Lewis said. "When you do that type of thing with John, you come up with high scores all across the board."

In his career with the Titans Thornton started 31-of-56 games played and totaled 68 tackles, 10.5 sacks and a forced fumble. He had his best statistical season in 2000 when he started all 16 games, tallied 28 tackles and notched four sacks.

Thornton missed 13 games of the 2001 season with a subluxed right shoulder, an injury that was prepared surgically and did not appear to be an issue in his 16 starts last season.

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