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Patriots sign Kopp

New England picked up some insurance for their depleted linebacking corps by signing veteran Jeff Kopp, who played with Baltimore earlier this season.

Kopp was released earlier this month by the Ravens. The Patriots needed help at linebacker, as several players are not healthy. Starting weak-side linebacker Tedy Brushi, and backups Bernard Russ, Marty Moore and Vernan Crawford all have knee injuries, and middle linebacker Ted Johnson has been out all season with a biceps injury.

Of those players, only Bruschi has a strong chance of playing against Arizona Sunday. This means Kopp will need to learn the defense quickly. In additon to playing linebacker, Kopp has been a quality special teams player for Baltimore, Jacksonville and Miami during his 5-year career.

A sixth-round pick for the Dolphins in 1995, Kopp's best season was 1997, when he had three starts, 14 tackles, a sack and an interception for the Jaguars. He was also third on the team that season with 17 special teams tackles.

To make room for Kopp on the active roster, the Patriots placed cornerback J'Juan Cherry on Injured Reserve with a hip injury. In another roster move, linebacker Ron Merkerson, who was released by the team after the second game of the season, was signed to the practice squad. To make room for Merkerson, the team released running back Marques Brigham, who was added in late September.

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