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Free agent tackle Brown visits

While the Patriots were busy making other maneuvers on Thursday, the team took time to host a visit from offensive tackle Orlando Brown.

Brown is a seven-year NFL veteran who has missed the last three seasons after being hit with a weighted official's flag in the eye thrown by referee Jeff Triplette during a game late in the 1999 season. Brown sustained a serious right-eye injury from the flag and was suspended by the league for making contact with the official following the injury and hasn't played since. He had a $200 million dollar lawsuit against the league that was settled this February and the player is now an unrestricted free agent looking to make a comeback.

There were rumors of New England's interest in the 6-7, 350-pound tackle during the 2002 regular season, but due to the pending lawsuit he never became available. The connection with the Patriots is a strong one, as Brown broke into the NFL under Bill Belichick and Scott Pioli when all three were with the Cleveland Browns.

Brown was an undrafted rookie free agent when he came into the league with the Browns in 1993 and after spending his entire rookie season on injured reserve with a shoulder injury worked his way into the Browns starting lineup in the middle of his second season. Brown actually started his first NFL game at right tackle for the Browns against the Patriots on Nov. 6, 1994.

With the trade of right tackle Greg Randall to the Texans on Thursday and considering that the Patriots used seven different starting lineups on the offensive line in 2002, Brown might be a good fit in New England. While there is likely to be a certain degree of rust involved with three seasons away from NFL action, if Brown can recapture the athleticism that went along with his immense frame to make him a dominant tackle, he could definitely help the Patriots. As it stands now, Kenyatta Jones who started 11 games at right tackle last season is the likely candidate at right tackle for 2003, although he certainly didn't put a lock on the job with his 2002 performance.

In his career with the Browns and the Ravens from 1993-1999 Brown started 84-of-90 games played and the 32-year-old had earned a reputation as one of the top offensive linemen in the game prior to the injury.

Notes

Miami Dolphins free agent defensive end David Bowens, who had been rumored to be visiting the Patriots sometime this week, re-signed with the Dolphins on Thursday. … Former Patriots defensive back Kato Serwanga signed with the Giants. … The Eagles released former Pro Bowl safety Blaine Bishop.

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