"I am very pleased to announce our addition of Lionel Vital," said Patriots' head coach Bill Belichick. "He is a highly qualified and experienced scout who will help us accomplish our task of obtaining good young players."
Vital, 36, will be reunited with Belichick and Scott Pioli with whom he worked with at the New York Jets for the past two seasons (1998-99). With the Jets, Vital was a talent scout, responsible for the southeast area of the country. He broke into the NFL as a talent scout for the Cleveland Browns in 1991 under then head coach Belichick and remained with the team until 1995. When the Browns moved to Baltimore, Vital traveled with the team and spent two seasons with the Ravens as an area scout (1996-97).
Vital attended Nichols State (LA) where he set a school rushing record during his junior season. He was selected by the Washington Redskins in the seventh round of the 1985 draft but spent the season on injured reserve. He was later waived in 1986, but returned to start three games in 1987. He then spent the 1989 season with the Saskatchewan Rough Riders of the CFL. Following his playing career, Vital moved into the front office as the director of player personnel for the Montreal Machine of the World League of American Football for two seasons (1990-91) prior to joining Cleveland.