FOXBOROUGH, Mass. - The New England Patriots re-signed free agent linebacker Chad Brown and re-signed exclusive rights free agent offensive linemen Gene Mruczkowski and Billy Yates today. Terms of the agreements were not disclosed. Additionally, the Patriots released linebacker Ryan Claridge and rookie defensive lineman Kader Drame. New England also announced that 10 players have been placed on the physically unable to perform list (see below). The Patriots open their 2006 training camp tomorrow with a 9:00 a.m. practice at Gillette Stadium.
Chad Brown, 36, is entering his 14th NFL season and played in 15 games with five starts in his first season in New England in 2005. The 6-foot-2-inch, 245-pound linebacker was signed by the Patriots as a free agent on May 10, 2005, and was credited with 54 defensive tackles and three special teams stops last season. Brown was a member of the Pittsburgh Steelers (1993-96) and Seattle Seahawks (1997-2004) prior to joining the Patriots. He was originally selected by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the second round of the 1993 NFL Draft (44th overall). The Colorado product was a four-year starter for the Steelers and earned his first of three trips to the Pro Bowl in 1996 after finishing fourth in the NFL with a career-high 13 sacks. He signed with Seattle as a free agent the following year and spent the next eight seasons starting for the Seahawks. In 13 NFL seasons, Brown has started 161 of 178 games played and has recorded 1,097 total tackles, including 78 career sacks. He is tied for the NFL lead in sacks among active linebackers. He also has notched 43 career passes defensed, six interceptions, 19 forced fumbles and 18 fumble recoveries.
Gene Mruczkowski, 26, is entering his fourth season with the Patriots and was originally signed by New England as a rookie free agent on May 16, 2003. The 6-foot-2-inch, 305-pound guard/center has played in 17 career regular-season games and four playoff contests, all with New England. After missing his rookie season (2003) with an injury, he played in 10 regular-season games and three playoff contests in 2004, seeing action as a reserve lineman and on special teams protection units. Last season, the Purdue product played in seven regular-season games and one playoff contest.
Billy Yates, 26, is entering his third NFL season and has played in seven career regular-season games and one playoff contest. The 6-foot-2-inch, 305-pound guard was originally signed by the Miami Dolphins as a rookie free agent prior to the 2003 season. He played in three games for the Dolphins as a rookie, then spent all but one week of the 2004 season on the Patriots practice squad. Last season, Yates began the year on the practice squad and was signed to the active roster on Nov. 12 and played in four regular-season games and one playoff contest.
Ryan Claridge, 25, was selected by the Patriots in the fifth round (170th overall) of the 2005 NFL Draft. The 6-foot-2-inch, 250-pound linebacker was placed on injured reserve on Aug. 15, 2005 and missed his rookie season due to injury.
Kader Drame (pronounced ka-DARE * DRA-may), 23, was signed by the Patriots as a rookie free agent on May 8, 2006. The 6-foot-5-inch, 295-pound defensive end attended Syracuse University, where he played in 39 games over four seasons and tallied 26 tackles as a senior in 2005.
Additionally, New England announced that the following players have been placed on the physically unable to perform list - WR Bam Childress, CB Randall Gay, S Rodney Harrison, WR Chad Jackson, T Nick Kaczur, C Dan Koppen, RB Patrick Pass, LS Lonie Paxton, DL Richard Seymour and DL Johnathan Sullivan.