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Patriots Sign OL Josh Rawlings And WR Curtis Jackson; Release TE Eric Bjornson

FOXBORO, Mass. - The New England Patriots announced the signings of two players today, offensive tackle Josh Rawlings and wide receiver Curtis Jackson. Both players were signed off NFL practice squads. Rawlings returns to the Patriots after spending much of this season on the Kansas City Chiefs practice squad, while Jackson was signed off the St. Louis Rams practice squad. Subsequently, veteran tight end Eric Bjornson was released.

Rawlings, 23, originally signed with the Kansas City Chiefs as a rookie free agent on April 20, 2000. After seeing limited action in two games with the Chiefs during the preseason, he was waived and claimed by the Patriots on Aug. 23, 2000. The Patriots waived the 6-foot-3-inch, 305-pound prospect one week later. He returned to Kansas City when the Chiefs signed him to their practice squad. He was a three-year letterman at Minnesota (1997-99). He moved from defensive tackle to offensive tackle during his senior season and started all 11 games at right tackle for the Gophers.

Jackson, 27, originally signed with the St. Louis Rams as a rookie free agent on April 17, 2000. The 5-foot-10-inch, 190-pound receiver from Texas had his senior season cut short after suffering a season-ending knee injury in his fifth game in 1996. He played in 12 games as a junior and ranked third on the team with 27 receptions for 401 yards and two touchdowns. He was originally recruited to Texas as a running back after rushing for 1,300 yards on 178 attempts (7.3 avg.) at Plano (Texas) High.

Bjornson, 28, was signed by the Patriots as an unrestricted free agent on Feb. 29, 2000, after five seasons with the Dallas Cowboys. The 6-foot-4-inch, 240-pound tight end started six of eight games played this season and caught 20 passes for 152 yards and scored two touchdowns. In six seasons, he has 147 career receptions for 1,384 yards and six touchdowns.
With today's transactions, the Patriots report a league limit of 53 players on their active roster.

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