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Patriots sign CB Deltha O'Neal; Claim two off waivers

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- The New England Patriots signed cornerback Deltha O'Neal today. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed. Additionally, the Patriots claimed tight end Jason Pociask off waivers from the New York Jets and claimed offensive tackle Mark LeVoir off waivers from the St. Louis Rams. The Patriots also signed offensive lineman Jacob Bender and tight end Tyson DeVree to their practice squad, bringing the squad to its full compliment of eight players. New England also released tight end Stephen Spach from its active roster.

O'Neal, 31, is a two-time Pro Bowler in his ninth NFL season, having played in 116 games with 75 starts for the Denver Broncos (2000-03) and Cincinnati Bengals (2004-07). The 5-foot-11-inch, 194-pound cornerback has recorded 358 career tackles (289 solo), one sack, 31 interceptions for 403 yards and three touchdowns, 106 passes defensed, three forced fumbles and four fumble recoveries. As a returner, he has totaled 57 kickoff returns for 1,274 yards (22.4 avg.) and a touchdown, and 136 punt returns for 1,368 yards (10.1 avg.) and two touchdowns. Last season with Cincinnati, O'Neal played in 16 games with eight starts and totaled 56 tackles (43 solo), one interception, 16 passes defensed, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery. O'Neal was originally drafted by the Broncos in the first round (15th overall) of the 2000 NFL Draft out of California-Berkeley. He earned his first career Pro Bowl berth in 2001 after finishing second in the AFC with nine interceptions, including an NFL record-tying four interceptions in a game against Kansas City on Oct. 7, 2001. O'Neal was traded to the Bengals on April 9, 2004 along with a first-round pick in the 2004 draft (24th overall) and a fourth-round pick in the 2004 draft (117th overall) in exchange for the 17th overall selection in the 2004 draft. In 2005, his second year with the Bengals, O'Neal returned to the Pro Bowl after setting a franchise record with a career-high 10 interceptions. O'Neal was released by the Bengals on Aug. 30, 2008.

Pociask (pronounced POE-zee-ack), 25, has appeared in four career NFL games, all with the New York Jets in 2007. The 6-foot-2-inch, 259-pound tight end was originally selected by the Jets in the fifth round (150th overall) of the 2006 NFL Draft out of Wisconsin. After spending the entire 2006 season on injured reserve, Pociask appeared in four games last season and recorded one reception for seven yards.

LeVoir, (pronounced le-VORE), 26, has not appeared in an NFL game since being signed by the Chicago Bears as an undrafted free agent on May 5, 2006 out of Notre Dame. The 6-foot-7-inch, 306-pound offensive lineman spent the entire 2006 season as a member of the Bears' practice squad and began the 2007 season on Chicago's practice squad before being signed to the St. Louis Rams' active roster on Nov. 13, 2007. He was a day-of-game inactive for St. Louis in each of its final seven games last season.

Bender, 23, has appeared in two career NFL games, both with the New York Jets in 2007. The 6-foot-6-inch, 315-pound offensive lineman was originally drafted by the Jets in the sixth round (177th overall) of the 2007 NFL Draft. As a rookie in 2007, Bender played in two games and was listed as a day-of-game inactive 14 times. He was waived by the Jets on Aug. 30, 2008.

DeVree, 23, was originally signed by the Patriots as a rookie free agent on May 5, 2008 and was released by the Patriots on June 11, 2008 before being re-signed by the Patriots on Aug. 19, 2008 and released on Aug. 30, 2008. He finished his college career at the University of Colorado (2006-07) after transferring from Western Michigan (2003-04) after his sophomore year. The 6-foot-6, 245-pound tight end played in 44 collegiate games making 96 receptions for 987 yards and 15 receiving touchdowns.

Spach (pronounced SPOCK), 25, is in his third NFL season and played in 16 games with one start for the Philadelphia Eagles (2005) and New England Patriots (2007). The 6-foot-4-inch, 250-pound tight end was signed by the Patriots as a free agent on Dec. 13, 2007 and played in three games for New England in 2007. For his career, Spach has totaled seven receptions for 42 yards.

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