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Patriots sign LBs Barry Gardner and Jeremy Loyd

The New England Patriots signed veteran free agent linebackers Barry Gardner and Jeremy Loyd this afternoon. Terms of the agreements were not disclosed.

Gardner, 29, joins the Patriots for his eighth NFL season after previously playing for the Philadelphia Eagles (1999-2002), Cleveland Browns (2003-04) and New York Jets (2005). The 6-foot-1-inch, 245-pound linebacker has played in 110 career games with 24 starts and has recorded 186 career tackles (130 solo), two sacks, one interception, seven passes defensed, three forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries. Additionally, the Northwestern product has made 92 career special teams tackles. Last season with the Jets, Gardner played in all 16 games with one start. He set career highs with 13 starts and 57 tackles with the Eagles in 2000. The Harvey, Ill. native was originally drafted by Philadelphia in the second round (35th overall) of the 1999 NFL Draft. He signed with the Browns as an unrestricted free agent on March 14, 2003 and joined the Jets as an unrestricted free agent on March 11, 2005. Gardner was released by the Jets on Feb. 22, 2006.

Loyd, 25, will enter his third full NFL season in 2006 after spending portions of the last three seasons with the St. Louis Rams (2003-05). The 6-foot-2-inch, 235-pound linebacker has played in 14 career NFL games and has recorded 10 special teams tackles and no defensive statistics. Loyd was originally signed by the Cleveland Browns as an undrafted rookie free agent on June 2, 2003. He was released by the Browns following 2003 training camp and signed to the Rams' practice squad on Sept. 10, 2003. St. Louis then signed him to its active roster five days later and he participated in 10 games as a rookie in 2003. He missed the entire 2004 campaign on injured reserve and was released by the Rams following 2005 training camp on Aug. 31, 2005. Loyd was later re-signed by St. Louis and played in the final four games of the 2005 season, recording four special teams tackles.

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