FOXBOROUGH, Mass. - The New England Patriots will send six players to participate in the 2005 NFL Europe League season this spring, as the NFLEL announced the 266 players who were allocated by NFL teams.
Linebacker Grant Steen (Frankfurt Galaxy), wide receiver Mark Bartosic (Rhein Fire), tight end Joel Jacobs (Amsterdam Admirals) and wide receiver Rickey Bryant (Hamburg Sea Devils) were among the 141 players selected in the annual NFL Allocated Player draft. Running back Kory Chapman (Cologne Centurions) and wide receiver Cedric James (Rhein Fire) were among the 102 players assigned to NFL EL teams.
The NFLEL training camp opens on Monday, February 21 in Tampa Bay, Florida. The thirteenth NFLEL season kicks off on the first weekend of April.
]()Steen, 25, was selected in the fifth round of the NFLEL draft by Frankfurt, the 26th player selected overall. Originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent in April, the 6-foot-2, 242-pound Steen spent training camp with the Patriots before he was released on Sept. 3. He played in three of the team's four preseason games; starting and recording nine total tackles and a forced fumble against Jacksonville on Sept. 2.
Jacobs was signed to a future contract by the Patriots on Jan. 6 and officially joins the team when the NFL roster limit expands to 80 players this month. The 24-year-old was signed by the Patriots on Aug. 17 and played in two preseason games before he was released on Sept. 3. He was originally signed by the St. Louis Rams as an undrafted rookie free agent in June and was waived in July.
Bryant, 23, was signed to the practice squad on Dec. 8 for the final two months of the season after spending training camp with the Patriots. He played in all four of the Patriots pre-season games, finishing with four receptions for 41 yards and a touchdown before he was released as part of the final roster cuts on Sept. 5. The 5-foot-11-inch, 175-pound Bryant was originally signed by the Patriots as a undrafted rookie free agent in May.
The Patriots announced the signing of Bartosic, 24, earlier today. An undrafted rookie free agent out of Divisoin III Susquehanna, the 6-foot-1, 195-pound Bartosic was with the Philadelphia Eagles during 2004 training camp before he was released on Aug. 30.
Chapman, 24, and James, 25, spent the majority of the season on the Patriots practice squad. Chapman was signed as an undrafted rookie free agent out of Jacksonville State by Baltimore and spent training camp with the Ravens before he was released and signed by the Patriots on Sept. 3. He spent the entire 2004 regular season on the Patriots practice squad before he was released Jan. 12 and re-signed the following week. James was signed to the Patriots practice squad on Sept. 22 after spending the preseason with the Dallas Cowboys. The 6-foot-1-inch, 197-pound wideout was a member of the Cowboys practice during the 2003 season and was drafted by the Minnesota Vikings in the fourth round (131st overall) of the 2001 NFL Draft.
Davidson Joins Crennel In ClevelandThe Patriots lost another member of the coaching staff Monday when tight ends/assistant offensive line coach Jeff Davidson was named the offensive line coach with the Cleveland Browns. Davidson, 37, has 10 years of NFL coaching experience, spending the last eight seasons with the Patriots. Hired by the Patriots in 1997, he was one of few holdovers from Pete Carroll's coaching staff when Bill Belichick took over in 2000, and was considered by many to be a candidate to replace offensive coordinator Charlie Weis.
Davidson has several ties to Ohio. A native of Akron, he played offensive line at Ohio State University. He'll also be joining the staff of former Patriots defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel, who was named the Browns head coach last week.
"This is a dream come true for me," Davidson said. "Romeo Crennel is an excellent coach and a terrific person and I have always wanted to coach the offensive line. I also grew up a Browns fan and this is a move that brings me home."
Patriots Sign Three
The Patriots also announced the signing of three other free agents today: defensive back Ike Charlton, offensive tackle Lance Nimmo and defensive lineman Buck Rasmussen. Terms of the agreements were not disclosed.
Charlton, 27, has spent his four NFL seasons with Seattle (2000-01), Jacksonville (2002), the New York Giants (2003) until he was released by Oakland following training camp this preseason on Sept. 5. A former second round pick (52nd overall) in the 2000 Draft out of Virginia Tech, the 5-foot-11, 199-pound Charlton has appeared in 53 games with three starts. He missed just one game during his first two seasons in Seattle, recording 50 total tackles, a sack, four forced fumbles and two interceptions. He played in 15 games for Jacksonville, recording 24 total tackles while also returning 10 kickoffs for 236 yards.
Rasumussen, 26, spent the entire 2004 season on the Patriots practice squad. The 6-foot-4, 285-pound lineman attended training camp with the Patriots the last two seasons played for Amsterdam during the 2004 NFL Europe season. Nimmo, 25, was originally signed to the practice squad on Nov. 10.