FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- The New England Patriots signed defensive back Antwain Spann to the active roster from their practice squad today. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed. The Patriots also placed veteran safety Rodney Harrison on the reserve/injured list. Harrison will miss the remainder of the 2008 season with a thigh injury. Additionally, the Patriots signed offensive lineman Dan Connolly and defensive back Mark Dillard to their practice squad.
Antwain Spann, 25, has played in nine career NFL games, all with the Patriots from 2006-07. He has totaled seven career special teams tackles. Last season, Spann was signed to the practice squad on Sept. 25, 2007 and was signed to the active roster on Dec. 28. He appeared in the final game of the 2007 regular season and all three playoff games for the Patriots last year. In 2006, he was signed from the Patriots practice squad to the active roster on three occasions and saw action in eight regular-season games. The 6-foot, 195-pound defensive back was originally signed by the New York Giants as a rookie free agent out of Louisiana-Lafayette on May 17, 2005. He was released by the Giants following 2005 training camp and spent the remainder of that season out of football.
Rodney Harrison, 35, is in his 15th NFL season and is in his sixth year with the Patriots after signing with New England as a free agent on March 12, 2003. The 6-foot-1-inch, 220-pound safety has played in 186 career games with 159 starts for the San Diego Chargers (1994-2002) and the Patriots (2003-08). Harrison is the only player in NFL history to record at least 30 sacks and at least 30 interceptions (his career totals include 30.5 sacks and 34 interceptions). He is the NFL's all-time leader in sacks by a defensive back (30.5). Since entering the league in 1994, press box statisticians have credited Harrison with 906 solo tackles, leading all NFL defensive backs during that span. Harrison has been named a team captain in five of his six seasons with the Patriots, including 2008.
In his first two seasons with the Patriots (2003-04), Harrison was not only New England's leading tackler each year, but also led all NFL defensive backs in tackles both seasons, recording a career-high 140 tackles in 2003 and following that up with 138 tackles in 2004. He started every regular-season and playoff game in those two seasons, helping to lead the Patriots to back-to-back Super Bowl championships while totaling six interceptions in the Patriots' six playoff games from 2003-04. After playing in just three games in 2005 before being placed on injured reserve with a knee injury, Harrison returned to start 10 games in 2006 as the Patriots defense allowed a franchise-low 10 touchdown passes all season. In 2007, Harrison played in 12 games with 11 starts and also started all three playoff games as the Patriots became the first NFL team to complete a 16-0 regular season.
The Markham, Ill. native has been a consistent performer on the NFL's biggest stage, recording seven interceptions in his nine playoff games with the Patriots, setting the team's career playoff interception record. In the 2004 playoffs, Harrison recorded four interceptions, including two in Super Bowl XXXIX.
Harrison spent the first nine seasons of his career with the San Diego Chargers (1994-02) after he was selected by San Diego in the fifth round (145th overall) of the 1994 NFL Draft out of Western Illinois. He was selected to participate in the Pro Bowl following the 1998 and 2001 seasons. In his regular-season career, Harrison has recorded 1,211 tackles (923 solo), 30.5 sacks for 236.5 yards, 34 interceptions for 361 yards and two touchdowns, 115 passes defensed, 15 forced fumbles, seven fumble recoveries and 57 special teams tackles. In the playoffs, Harrison has played in 13 games (9 starts) and has recorded 72 tackles (58 solo), two sacks for four yards, seven interceptions for 118 yards and a touchdown, nine passes defensed, two forced fumbles and seven special teams tackles.
Dan Connolly, 26, has played in four career games, all with the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2005. The 6-foot-4-inch, 313-pound offensive lineman was originally signed by the Jaguars as a rookie free agent out of Southeast Missouri State prior to the 2005 season. After playing in four games as a rookie in 2005, he was placed on the reserve/injured list and missed the entire 2006 season due to injury. He was released by the Jaguars on Sept. 1, 2007 and was signed to the Patriots' practice squad on Sept. 12, 2007, and spent the remainder of the season on New England's practice squad. In 2008, Connolly was a member of the active roster for the Patriots' first five games and was listed as a day-of-game inactive for each games. He was released by the Patriots on Oct. 20, 2008.
Mark Dillard, 21, was originally signed by the Patriots as a rookie free agent out of Louisiana Tech on May 2, 2008. The 5-foot-11-inch, 210-pound safety was with the Patriots throughout their 2008 training camp and was released in the final preseason roster cutdown on Aug. 30, 2008. He was signed to the practice squad on Aug. 31 and was released from the practice squad on Sept. 10 before being re-signed to the practice squad on Sept. 15 and released from the practice squad on Sept. 24.