FOXBOROUGH, Mass. - The New England Patriots signed veteran free agent cornerback Lewis Sanders and veteran free agent safety Tank Williams today. Terms of the agreements were not disclosed.
Lewis Sanders, 29, is a veteran of eight NFL seasons with the Cleveland Browns (2000-2004), Houston Texans (2005-06) and Atlanta Falcons (2007). The 6-foot-1-inch, 210-pound cornerback has played in 87 career games with 25 starts and has recorded 172 career tackles (137 solo), one sack, five interceptions for 90 yards, 31 passes defensed, one forced fumble and two fumble recoveries, while also totaling 51 special teams tackles.
Last season with Atlanta, Sanders played in 14 games with six starts after being signed by the Falcons as an unrestricted free agent on March 7, 2007. He recorded 32 tackles (28 solo) and two passes defensed before being placed on the reserve/injured list with a chest injury on Dec. 17, 2007. He was released by the Falcons on Feb. 15, 2008.
Prior to joining the Falcons, Sanders spent two seasons with Houston after signing as an unrestricted free agent on March 8, 2005. During his tenure with the Texans, Sanders played in a total of 21 games with 10 starts. In 2005, he made 22 tackles (18 solo) while earning three starts in 12 games. The following season, he played in nine games while starting a career-high seven contests and also set a career high with 37 tackles (29 solo) before being placed on the reserve/injured list with a hand injury on Nov. 14, 2006.
Sanders was drafted by the Cleveland Browns in the fourth round (95th overall) of the 2000 NFL Draft out of the University of Maryland. He spent the first five seasons of his career with Cleveland, playing in a total of 52 games with nine starts over that period, totaling 81 tackles (62 solo), one sack and four interceptions. As a rookie in 2000, he played in 11 games with one start and had 21 tackles and an interception. He missed the entire 2001 season with a leg injury, but returned in 2002 to play in all 16 games with two starts while totaling a career-high 13 special teams tackles. In 2003, he played in nine games with his lone start coming at New England on Oct. 26. In 2004, his final season in Cleveland, Sanders played in every game with five starts and set a career high with two interceptions.
Tank Williams, 27, is a veteran of six NFL seasons with the Tennessee Titans (2002-05) and Minnesota Vikings (2006-07). The 6-foot-2-inch, 223-pound safety has played in 70 career games with 59 starts and has recorded 303 career tackles (232 solo), 4.5 sacks, five interceptions for 14 yards, 27 passes defensed, four forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries. He has also blocked two field goals.
Last season with Minnesota, Williams played in 13 games with two starts and had 18 tackles (12 solo) on defense and added seven special teams stops. Williams missed the entire 2006 season with a knee injury after signing with the Vikings as an unrestricted free agent on March 23, 2006.
Williams was drafted by the Tennessee Titans in the second round (45th overall) of the 2002 NFL Draft out of Stanford. He spent the first four years of his career in Tennessee, starting all 57 games in which he appeared over that span, recording 285 tackles (220 solo), 4.5 sacks and five interceptions. As a rookie in 2002, Williams started every game for the Titans and totaled 69 tackles, posting at least five tackles in a game eight times, and recording an interception, 10 passes defensed and adding a strip-sack that resulted in a fumble return for a touchdown against Indianapolis. He also blocked a field goal in the 2002 regular season finale. In 2003, Williams once again started every game and finished fourth on the Titans with 81 tackles, helping Tennessee lead the NFL in rushing defense. He started the first nine games of the 2004 season, but was placed on the reserve/injured list on Nov. 29 with a knee injury and missed the remainder of the year. He returned in 2005 to start every game for the Titans and led all Tennessee defensive backs with a career-high 83 tackles.