FOXBOROUGH, Mass. - The New England Patriots announced the signing of unrestricted free agent fullback Fred McCrary and re-signed linebacker Maugaula Tuitele today. Terms of the agreements were not disclosed.
McCrary, 30, joins the Patriots after starting every game for the San Diego Chargers in 2002. He finished the year ranked fifth on the team with 22 receptions, including three touchdowns. His three touchdown receptions were tied for second on the team behind WR Curtis Conway. For the past two seasons, he has been the lead back for LaDainian Tomlinson. During that time, Tomlinson rushed for 2,919 yards and 24 touchdowns.
The 6-foot, 245-pound fullback was originally drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles out of Mississippi State in the sixth round of the 1995 NFL draft, 208th overall. He filled in for Kevin Turner to start four of 13 games as a rookie. He was released in 1996 and signed with the New Orleans Saints in 1997, where he appeared in seven games. He signed with the San Diego Chargers in 1999, where he started 55 of 63 games over the next four seasons. During his six-year career, McCrary has started 59 of 83 games and has 103 career receptions for 586 yards and 6 touchdowns.
Tuitele, 24, originally signed with the Patriots as a rookie free agent out of Colorado State on April 19, 2000. He spent much of his first two seasons in the NFL on the Patriots' practice squad and was allocated to NFL Europe's Rhein Fire in 2002, where he earned All-League honors. The 6-foot-1-inch, 255-pound linebacker was released by the Patriots on Sept. 1, 2002 and signed by the Buffalo Bills. He was re-signed by the Patriots on Dec. 11, 2002 and appeared in each of the team's final three games of the season.