FOXBOROUGH, Mass. - The New England Patriots signed free agent linebacker Paris Lenon today. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed.
Lenon, 31, has played in 112 games with 64 starts over seven seasons with the Green Bay Packers (2002-05) and Detroit Lions (2006-08). The 6-foot-2-inch, 235-pound linebacker has recorded 523 career tackles (331 solo), 5.0 sacks, two interceptions for 61 yards and a touchdown, 16 passes defensed, four forced fumbles, five fumble recoveries and 58 special teams tackles. Lenon enters the 2009 season having not missed a game in his seven-year NFL career and has started 63 consecutive games, including all 16 contests in each of the last three seasons. Over his three seasons with the Lions (2006-08), Lenon averaged 135 tackles per season and led Detroit with 146 tackles in 2008.
Lenon signed with the Detroit Lions as a free agent on March 22, 2006, beginning a three-year stint with the Lions in which he started all 48 games. In his first season in Detroit, Lenon finished second on the team with 97 tackles (60 solo) and also snared his first career interception. In 2007, he again finished second on the club with a career-high 161 tackles (101 solo), including a career-best two sacks, and also had a 61-yard interception return for a touchdown. His 161 tackles for Detroit in 2007 were the seventh-highest total in Lions team history. Last season, Lenon led Detroit with 146 tackles (98 solo), including 1.5 sacks, and also forced two fumbles and recovered two fumbles.
Lenon was originally signed by the Carolina Panthers as a rookie free agent from the University of Richmond on April 26, 2000. He was released by the Panthers before training camp and spent the 2000 season out of football. He was with the Green Bay Packers in the offseason prior to the 2001 campaign and spent 10 days with the Seattle Seahawks during the 2001 preseason. He played in four games in the fall of 2001 for the Memphis Maniax of the XFL and was later signed to Packers practice squad for the 2001 regular-season finale and the 2001 playoffs. In 2002, he made his NFL debut and played in all 16 games for the Packers, leading the club with 22 special teams tackles. In 2003, Lenon again played in every game and finished second on the Packers with 16 special teams stops. He saw his first extensive action at linebacker in 2004, playing in every game with four starts for the Packers and recording 28 tackles (17 solo). In 2005, Lenon became a regular starter for Green Bay, starting 12 of 16 games, including the season's final 11 contests while totaling 79 tackles (47 solo), including 1.5 sacks.