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Mitchell latest to stop by

The New England Patriots have confirmed that they hosted New York Giants tight end Pete Mitchell.

The former Boston College All-American has played six years in the NFL, four with Jacksonville and the last two with the Super Bowl-runner up Giants. Over the course of his career, he has posted 249 catches and 13 touchdowns.

Mitchell had his toughest professional season in 2000. He suffered a sprained left knee that required athroscopic surgery in the Giants preseason opener against Chicago, causing him to miss much of training camp and the regular season opener. The slow start made veteran Howard Cross New York's top option, and Mitchell was limited to just 25 receptions for 245 yards and one touchdown.

Other than last season, Mitchell has pretty much avoided injury. He has played in 93 games, including 49 starts, and has missed just three games in six seasons. Even with knee surgery, Mitchell missed just two games in 2000.

Should Mitchell be brought on board, he would be yet another veteran upgrade at a "need" position. The Patriots currently have Rod Rutledge, Jermaine Wiggins and Chris Eitzmann at tight end. Rutledge, a former second-round pick, has not blossomed as hoped, despite a career-best 15 catches in 2000. He is a stronger blocking end, but his receiving skills leave much to be desired.

Wiggins was impressive in his short time with New England last season, catching 16 passes and one touchdown in just four games. Despite his limited time, he was fifth on the team in receptions and tops among tight ends. Still, he is young and still unproven as an all-around player, and at this time appears to be a role player in the offense.

Eitzmann started 2000 on the practice squad before being activated on Oct. 21. He played in five games and had one start before going on injured reserve with rib injuries, but he still needs time to develop.

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