FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – The New England Patriots announced that they have re-signed unrestricted free agent defensive lineman Rick Lyle and safety Je'Rod Cherry. Terms of the deals were not disclosed.
Lyle, 32, joined the Patriots last year (March 12, 2002) as an unrestricted free agent signing from the New York Jets. He appeared in 13 games and made two starts for the Patriots in 2002 and was credited with 20 total tackles. The 6-foot-5-inch, 285-pound Missouri alumnus originally signed with the Cleveland Browns as a rookie free agent in 1994. After two seasons in Cleveland, he moved with the franchise to Baltimore (1996) before signing with the New York Jets as a free agent in 1997. He started 62 consecutive games for the Jets over four seasons before missing his first game due to an injury at the end of the 2000 season. He appeared in every game for the Jets again in 2001, but started just three games. In nine NFL seasons, Lyle has started 70 of 105 games and compiled 262 career tackles, including 11 sacks.
Cherry, 29, appeared in every game for the Patriots in 2002 and finished third on the team with 12 special teams tackles. The 6-foot-1-inch, 210-pound safety was signed by the Patriots as an unrestricted free agent on July 25, 2001 and has appeared in every game since then. Cherry was originally drafted by the New Orleans Saints in the second round of the 1996 NFL draft out of California. He played four seasons in New Orleans (1996-99) and one season with the Philadelphia Eagles (2000) before joining the Patriots in 2001. In seven NFL seasons, he has recorded 58 defensive tackles, including two sacks, and 93 special teams tackles.