In the midst of pre-draft visits and working the restricted free agent market, the Patriots hosted a visit from unrestricted free agent wide receiver Oronde Gadsden Wednesday. The team confirmed the visit late this afternoon.
There had been rumored interest on the New England end for the 6-2, 215-pound receiver earlier this offseason, but Gadsden's agent Michael Todd told Patriots Football Weekly at that time that the Patriots had shown little interest. Efforts to reach Todd Wednesday afternoon were unsuccessful, but the interest on the New England end has evidently picked up of late.
The Miami Herald reported Wednesday that Gadsden met with Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick and offensive coordinator Charlie Weis last week when the two were in South Florida to work out players from the University of Miami. The three reportedly discussed what Gadsden's role within the Patriots offense would be.
Gadsden caught just 16 passes for 228 yards in six games with the Dolphins in 2002. After getting off to a decent start, Gadsden injured his left wrist on Oct. 13 at Denver and was placed on injured reserve on Oct. 21. He underwent surgery to repair ligament damage and stabilize the wrist on Oct. 23 of last season and was expected to be fully cleared to play earlier this month.
For his career Gadsden has 223 receptions for 3,204 yards and 22 touchdowns in 68 games with the Dolphins. He originally came into the league as an undrafted free agent out of Winston Salem in 1995.
Ruegamer signs with Green Bay
Veteran free agent center/guard Grey Ruegamer signed with the Green Bay Packers on Tuesday. The 6-5, 302-pound, four-year NFL veteran played in 13 games for the Patriots last season, including two starts at center.
Ruegamer has been a key backup in each of the last two seasons on the offensive line and played well in his role backing up at both guard and center. While Ruegamer's absence may not be a huge one, it does leave a hole in terms of an experienced backup at the interior line positions. New England reportedly pursued free agent Rams center/guard Andy McCollum earlier this offseason, but McCollum re-signed with St. Louis.
Former back Edwards wins Halas Award
Former Patriots running back Robert Edwards was named as the 2002 winner of the George Halas Award given out by the Professional Football Writers of America on Monday. The award is given to "the player or coach who exhibits perseverance in the face of adversity."
Edwards returned to play with the Dolphins last season after three-year absence from the NFL following a severe knee injury while playing flag football on a beach in Hawaii following the 1998 season in which he rushed for 1,115 yards and nine touchdowns with the Patriots. Last season in Miami Edwards carried the ball 20 times for 107 yards and one touchdown and also caught 18 passes for 126 yards and a score.
In case you missed it, the Redskins added another former Jet to their roster when an arbitrator awarded kick returner Chad Morton to Washington. Washington had signed the restricted free agent to an offer sheet earlier this offseason, one that the Jets apparently matched. In the end though the Jets matching offer was not the same deal that Morton signed in Washington and the player was awarded to the Redskins this week. … The Bears hired former standout defensive lineman Richard Dent as an assistant defensive line coach. … Fullback Mack Strong, one of the many names thrown about as an option for the Patriots at fullback before the team landed Fred McCrary, re-signed with the Seattle Seahawks. … Free agent linebacker Dwayne Rudd signed a two-year contract with the Super Bowl champion Tampa Buccaneers.