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Patriots re-sign FB Kyle Eckel; Release Stephen Spach

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- The New England Patriots re-signed fullback Kyle Eckel today. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed. Additionally, the Patriots released tight end Stephen Spach, signed defensive back Mark Dillard to their practice squad and released punter Tom Malone from their practice squad.

Eckel, 26, has played in 12 career games, all with the Patriots last season. The 5-foot-11-inch, 237-pound fullback has totaled 33 career rushes for 90 yards and two touchdowns and caught one pass for six yards. He has also totaled 12 career special teams tackles. The Navy product was originally signed by the Patriots on April 29, 2005 and was waived by New England on Sept. 3, 2005. He was claimed off waivers by the Miami Dolphins on Sept. 4, 2005 and spent the entire 2005 season and part of the 2006 season on the reserve/military exempt list. He was reinstated on Nov. 2, 2006 and spent the remainder of the season on the Commissioner's Exempt Permission list. Eckel was released by the Dolphins on Sept. 1, 2007, and was signed to the Patriots practice squad on Sept. 3, 2007, before being signed to the Patriots active roster on Oct. 1, 2007. He was released by the Patriots on Aug. 26, 2008.

Spach (pronounced SPOCK), 25, is in his third NFL season and played in 18 games with one start for the Philadelphia Eagles (2005) and New England Patriots (2007-08). He played in each of the first two games for the Patriots this season and did not record any statistics. The 6-foot-4-inch, 250-pound tight end was signed by the Patriots as a free agent on Dec. 13, 2007 and played in three games for New England last season. For his career, Spach has totaled seven receptions for 42 yards. He was released by the Patriots on Sept. 1, 2008 and was re-signed on Sept. 4, 2008.

Dillard, 21, was 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, 2008, and was released from the practice squad on Sept. 10, 2008.

Malone, 24, was signed to the practice squad on Sept. 10, 2008. He was previously a member of the Patriots practice squad late in the 2006 season and was with the team for its 2007 training camp. He was signed to the Patriots practice squad on December 20, 2006 and was released on Aug. 22, 2007. The 6-foot, 205-pound punter was originally signed by the San Francisco 49ers as a rookie free agent on May 5, 2006, and was released by the 49ers on June 29, 2006.

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