FOXBORO, Mass. – The New England Patriots announced that they have re-signed veteran outside linebacker Roman Phifer and first-year free agent Kole Ayi today. Terms of the agreements were not disclosed.
Phifer, 34, joined the Patriots on Aug. 3, 2001 and proceeded to start every game at outside linebacker during the Patriots' Super Bowl Championship season. He finished second on the team with 92 tackles, including a pair of sacks, and an interception. He was also credited with two forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries. In 11 NFL seasons, he has totaled 1,007 tackles, including 25.5 sacks, and has picked off 10 passes.
The 6-foot-2-inch, 248-pound linebacker was originally drafted by the Los Angeles Rams in the second round of the 1991 NFL draft from UCLA. He became a full-time starter in 1992 and has started 150 of 167 games during his career. He played eight seasons with the Rams and compiled 820 tackles and 15 sacks before signing with the Jets as an unrestricted free agent in 1999. He started 23 games in two seasons with the Jets, where he compiled 95 tackles and 8.5 sacks.
Ayi, 23, was claimed by the Patriots after he was waived by the New York Giants on Nov. 15, 2002. The New Hampshire native made his Patriots debut playing special teams against the Rams at Foxboro Stadium on Nov. 18, 2001. He was listed inactive the following week vs. New Orleans before being placed on injured reserve with a leg injury on November 28. The 6-foot-1-inch, 231-pound linebacker was originally signed by the St. Louis Rams as a rookie free agent after leaving the University of Massachusetts as the school's all-time leading tackler. He was waived by the Rams (10/23/01) and signed by the New York Giants two days later.