The Patriots filled out the 53-man roster late Monday by re-signing veteran safety Chris Hayes. The team had been playing with an open spot on the roster since the retirement of linebacker Dean Wells on Nov. 21.
Hayes had been with New England in training camp, but was released by the team on Aug. 30. He is a veteran presence that should help to bolster the special teams unit. With injuries that have slowed special team contributors Tebucky Jones and Tedy Bruschi of late, Hayes will likely be asked to pick up some of the slack in that area.
The 30-year old Hayes is a six-year NFL veteran who spent the last five with the Jets. Known mostly for special teams contributions in his career, the 6-foot, 206-pound safety started eight games in 2000 with the Jets. He finished that season with 29 tackles, an interception and two passes defensed. In special teams work Hayes has totaled 89 tackles, three forced fumbles, a fumble recovery, a block and a touchdown in his career.
Hayes was originally drafted by the Jets in the seventh round (210th overall) of the 1996 NFL draft out of Washington State. He was a two-time All-Pac 10 selection and Butkus Award finalist as an outside linebacker for the Cougars.