Cornerback Fernando Bryant with the Detroit Lions. Getty Images.
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. - The New England Patriots signed free agent cornerback Fernando Bryant today. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed.
"Adding a cornerback with Fernando's experience and production is a good opportunity for us," said Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick.
Bryant, 30, is a veteran of nine NFL seasons with the Jacksonville Jaguars (1999-2003) and the Detroit Lions (2004-07). The 5-foot-10-inch, 184-pound cornerback has played in 110 career games with 109 starts and has totaled 509 tackles (435 solo), seven interceptions, 88 passes defensed, three forced fumbles and seven fumble recoveries. Last season with Detroit, Bryant started every game at left cornerback and made 76 tackles, his highest single-season total since his rookie season (1999). He also tied his career high with a pair of interceptions for the Lions in 2007 and tied another career best with 14 passes defensed.
Bryant was drafted by the Jaguars in the first round (26th overall) of the 1999 NFL Draft from the University of Alabama. He spent the first five years of his career with Jacksonville (1999-2003), playing in 72 games with 71 starts over that period. As a rookie in 1999, he was named to all of the major all-rookie teams as he started every game and finished second among Jaguars defensive backs with a career-high 78 tackles in addition to a pair of interceptions, one forced fumble and three fumble recoveries. He started both of the Jaguars playoff games following the 1999 season and recorded an interception in the AFC Championship Game against Tennessee. In 2000, he started all 14 games in which he played and led Jacksonville's cornerbacks with 57 tackles and added an interception. Bryant led Jaguars cornerbacks with 56 tackles in 2001, despite playing in only 10 games with nine starts. He was placed on the reserve/injured list with a foot injury the week before the 2001 regular season finale. He started every game of the 2002 and 2003 seasons for the Jaguars, totaling 67 tackles and an interception in 2002 and concluding his Jacksonville career with 71 tackles and an interception in 2003.
Bryant was signed as an unrestricted free agent by the Lions on March 5, 2004. In his first season with Detroit, Bryant started all 10 games in which he played and led Lions cornerbacks with 48 tackles. He started the first two games of the 2005 season before being placed on the reserve/injured list with a clavicle injury. He started all 10 games in which he appeared in 2006 and recorded 46 tackles that year.