FOXBOROUGH, Mass. - The New England Patriots signed LS James Dearth today. Terms of the contract were not announced.
In addition, the Patriots released veteran LB Marques Murrell and rookie free agent WR Jeremy Ross.
Dearth, 6-4, 265 pounds, is a veteran of eleven NFL seasons with the Cleveland Browns (1999), New York Jets (2001-2009) and San Diego Chargers (2011). Originally a sixth round draft pick by the Browns in 1999 out of Tarleton State, Dearth has played in 146 career NFL games with one start. He has been used primarily as a long snapper but caught three passes for 10 yards with one touchdown in 2001 with the Jets.
Last season, Dearth signed with Washington but was waived prior to the start of the regular season. He signed with San Diego in early September but was injured in practice and spent the season on injured reserve.
After his rookie season with the Browns in 1999, he went to training camp with Tennessee in 2000 but was waived prior to the start of the regular season.
Murrell, 6-2, 250 pounds, originally signed with the Patriots on March 10, 2010 and played in the season-opener vs. Cincinnati before being released on Sept. 13. He had one special teams tackle against the Bengals. He was re-signed by the Patriots on Jan. 5, 2011 and was inactive for the postseason game against the Jets. Murrell spent three NFL seasons (2007-09) with the New York Jets. He originally joined the NFL as a rookie free agent with Philadelphia out of Appalachian State in 2007 and began his career on the Eagles' practice squad before being signed to the Jets 53-man roster on Nov. 7, 2007.
Ross, 5-11, 213 pounds, was signed by the Patriots as a rookie free agent on July 27, 2011 from California. He finished his collegiate career second on Cal's all-time punt return average list with an average of 15.2 yards per punt (31 returns, 471 yards and one touchdown). He totaled 2,287 all-purpose yards (201 rushing, 764 receiving, 471 punt return, 851 kick return), with an average of 53.2 yards per contest.