The New England Patriots announced the signing of former Dallas Cowboys tight end Eric Bjornson today. Terms of the two-year deal were not disclosed. The Patriots also announced the signings of two first-year free agents, tight end Rob Tardio and quarterback Brian Kuklick.
Bjornson, 28, started 35 of 74 games and caught 127 passes for 1,232 yards (9.7 avg) and four touchdowns during his five-year career with the Dallas Cowboys. In 1999, he played in every game, making six starts, and caught 10 passes for 131 yards. He was also credited with a 20-yard touchdown run on a fake field goal against the N.Y. Jets (12/19).
The 6-foot-4-inch, 235-pound tight end was originally drafted in the fourth round (110th overall) of the 1996 NFL draft by the Cowboys. During his rookie season, he played in 14 regular season games, including one start, and participated in three postseason games, including the Cowboys victory in Super Bowl XXX.
He established a career high and finished second on the team in 1996 with 48 receptions for 388 yards and three touchdowns. He also finished second in the NFC and seventh in the NFL in receptions by a tight end. In 1997, he caught 47 passes in just 14 games and established a new career high with 442 receiving yards before suffering a fractured left fibula in Week 14. Bjornson played in a total of seven postseason games with the Cowboys, catching six passes for 35 yards.
Tardio, 22, was signed by the Washington Redskins as a rookie free agent on April 23, 1999. The Boston College product was released by the Redskins on Sept. 6, 1999. The 6-foot-5-inch, 245-pound tight end caught 33 passes for 332 yards and a touchdown during his senior year at Boston College. His collegiate career included 44 receptions for 481 yards.
Kuklick, 23, was originally signed by the Oakland Raiders as a rookie free agent on April 23, 1999, but was released on May 3. The 6-foot-3-inch, 205-pound prospect then signed on with the Dallas Cowboys on June 21. He went to training camp with the Cowboys, but was released prior to the start of the regular season (9/1/99). As a three-year starter at Wake Forest, Kuklick completed 449 of 834 passes for 5,334 yards and 30 touchdowns during his collegiate career. As a senior, he passed for 2,683 yards and 14 touchdowns, including a career-high 421-yard game against North Carolina State.