FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – The New England Patriots re-signed linebacker Tedy Bruschi, long snapper Lonie Paxton and wide receiver Kelley Washington today. Terms of the agreements were not disclosed. Additionally, the Patriots released veteran tight end Kyle Brady.
Tedy Bruschi, 34, will enter his 13th season with the Patriots since being drafted by the team in the third round (86th overall) of the 1996 NFL Draft out of Arizona. The 6-foot-1-inch, 247-pound linebacker has been a Patriots team captain in each of the last six seasons dating back to 2002. Bruschi has led the Patriots in tackles in each of the last two seasons, totaling a team-best 99 stops in 2007 after pacing the club with 124 tackles in 2006. Over his 12-year career, Bruschi has played in 176 games with 127 starts and has recorded 1,063 tackles (679 solo), 30.5 sacks, 12 interceptions for 187 yards and four touchdowns, 61 passes defensed, 18 forced fumbles and six fumble recoveries, including one returned for a touchdown. Bruschi's 176 games as a Patriot rank eighth on the team's all-time list and in 2008 he will become the 10th player in team history to spend 13 or more seasons with the club.
Last season, Bruschi co-captained a Patriots defense that allowed just 288.3 yards per game – the fewest for the franchise in 28 years, dating back to when it allowed an average of 270.2 yards per game in 1979. In 2006, he was the leading tackler on a Patriots defensive unit that set a franchise record by allowing 14.8 points per game. Bruschi was the NFL's Co-Comeback Player of the Year in 2005, returning to action six games into the season after suffering a stroke in February of that year and helping to solidify a defense that allowed a total of just 10 points over a three-game span that December. He was named to the Pro Bowl following a 2004 campaign in which he earned AFC Defensive Player of the Week honors three times and the Patriots won their third Super Bowl in four years. In 2003, Bruschi ranked second on the team with 137 tackles as the Patriots won the Super Bowl and led the NFL in allowing just 14.9 points per game. Bruschi was elected as a captain for the first time entering the 2002 season and that year became the first linebacker in team history to return two interceptions for touchdowns in the same season. In 2001, he finished third on the team with 73 tackles as the Patriots won the Super Bowl for the first time in team history. He started all 16 games in 2000 for the first time in his career, one season after recording a career-high 138 tackles in 1999. He became a regular starter for the first time in 1998. As a rookie in 1996, Bruschi was part of the Patriots' AFC champion squad and totaled two sacks in his first Super Bowl.
Bruschi is the Patriots' all-time leader in playoff games played, participating in 22 career postseason contests, including five Super Bowls. He is one of just 14 players in NFL history to play in five or more Super Bowls, and his 22 playoff game appearances are tied with Brett Favre and Adam Vinatieri for the lead among all active NFL players.
Lonie Paxton, 29, will enter his ninth season in New England since being signed by the Patriots as a rookie free agent out of Sacramento State on April 19, 2000. The 6-foot-2-inch, 260-pound long snapper has played in 125 career games and has provided snaps for every Patriots punt, extra point and field goal attempt in all but three regular-season games over his eight seasons.
Paxton's consistency has played a role in the increased success of New England's field goal units since he joined the team. In the eight years since Paxton assumed long snapping duties in 2000, New England's field goal kickers have converted 83.0 percent of their kicks (195-for-235), a mark that ranks fifth in the league. The rate of success is in contrast to the team's 75.0 percent field goal conversion rate (189-for-252, 23rd in the NFL) over the eight seasons that preceded Paxton's tenure (1992-99).
Paxton has snapped on 10 career game-winning field goals and has made 13 career special teams tackles. He has snapped for every kick in the career of Stephen Gostkowski, who is the Patriots' all-time leader in field goal percentage, converting 84.5 percent of his kicks (49-of-58).
Kelley Washington, 28, is a veteran of five NFL seasons with the Cincinnati Bengals (2003-06) and New England Patriots (2007). He was signed by the Patriots as an unrestricted free agent on March 13, 2007. The 6-foot-3-inch, 216-pound wide receiver has played in 58 career NFL games with six starts and has caught 72 passes for 893 yards (12.4 avg.) and nine touchdowns. In 2007, his first season in New England, Washington played in 14 games and finished second on the Patriots with a career-high 18 special teams tackles, including a team-best nine solo special teams stops. He recorded the first blocked punt by a Patriots player in eight years when he blocked a New York Jets punt on Dec. 16, setting up a Patriots touchdown.
Washington was drafted by the Bengals with the first selection of the third round (65th overall) in the 2003 NFL Draft. The University of Tennessee product played in all 16 games with three starts as a rookie in 2003 and caught 22 passes for 299 yards (13.6 avg.) and a career-high four touchdowns. That season, he caught a career-long 51-yard touchdown pass in a game against Pittsburgh. In 2004, Washington set career highs in receptions (31) and receiving yards (378) while scoring three touchdowns. His total receptions and total receiving yards both ranked third on the team that season behind only Chad Johnson and T.J. Houshmandzadeh. Washington played in seven games in 2005, catching 10 passes for 101 yards and a touchdown. In 2006 with the Bengals, Washington played in five games with one start and caught nine passes for 115 yards (12.8 avg.) and a touchdown.
Kyle Brady, 36, is a veteran of 13 NFL seasons with the New York Jets (1995-98), Jacksonville Jaguars (1999-2006) and New England Patriots (2007). The 6-foot-6-inch, 280-pound tight end has played in 197 career games with 175 starts and has caught 343 passes for 3,519 yards (10.3 avg.) and 25 touchdowns.
Brady was signed by the Patriots as an unrestricted free agent on March 3, 2007. Last season, he caught nine passes for 70 yards and two touchdowns while playing in 14 games with nine starts for New England. His contributions in the running game helped the Patriots finish the season averaging 4.10 yards per rush, the team's best total since 1985.
Brady was drafted by the New York Jets in the first round (ninth overall) of the 1995 NFL Draft out of Penn State. As a rookie, Brady started 11 of 15 games for New York and caught 26 passes for 252 yards and a pair of touchdowns. He started every game in his final three seasons with the Jets (1996-98) and caught a career-high five touchdowns in 1998. He was signed by the Jaguars as an unrestricted free agent (transition player) on Feb. 16, 1999, beginning an eight-year run with Jacksonville. In 1999 – his first season with the Jaguars – Brady finished third on the team with 32 receptions for 346 yards and a touchdown. He set career highs in 2000 with 64 catches for 729 yards – both marks setting Jaguars franchise records for a tight end. Brady started every game in 2001 and finished third on the team with 36 receptions for 386 yards and a pair of touchdowns. In 2002, Brady recorded 43 receptions for 461 yards and four touchdowns – the second highest totals of his career in each of those categories. He played in all 16 games for the fourth straight season in 2003 while finishing fifth on the team with 29 catches for 281 yards and a touchdown. After starting eight of 11 games in 2004, Brady caught 18 passes in 2005 while playing in every game with 14 starts. In 2006 with Jacksonville, Brady started 14 of 16 games at tight end. In eight seasons with the Jaguars, Brady caught 241 passes for 2,500 yards. His career receiving yardage total ranks third on Jacksonville's all-time list, and his reception total ranks fourth in Jaguars history. He has played in all but 12 games in his 13-year career.