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Patriots Sign RB Laurence Maroney, TE Walter Rasby; Release S Jarvis Herring

The New England Patriots have signed 2006 first-round draft choice Laurence Maroney and veteran free agent tight end Walter Rasby. Terms of the agreements were not disclosed.

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. - The New England Patriots have signed 2006 first-round draft choice Laurence Maroney and veteran free agent tight end Walter Rasby. Terms of the agreements were not disclosed. Subsequently, the Patriots announced the release of rookie safety Jarvis Herring.

Maroney, 21, was selected by the Patriots with the 21st overall selection in the 2006 NFL Draft. The 5-foot-11-inch, 220-pound running back attended the University of Minnesota, where he played in 36 games with 14 starts over three seasons from 2003-05. The St. Louis native exceeded the 1,000-yard mark in each of his three seasons with the Golden Gophers, becoming one of just three players in Big Ten history to rush for more than 1,000 yards in each of their first three seasons. Maroney recorded 21 games with 100 or more rushing yards and holds a school record with 16 consecutive games with at least one run of 20 yards or longer. As a senior in 2005, Maroney ranked fifth in the nation in rushing, averaging 133.1 yards per game while totaling a single-season school record 1,464 yards on 281 carries (5.2 avg). In his collegiate career, Maroney totaled 3,933 yards on 660 carries (6.0 avg) and ran for 32 touchdowns. His career total of 3,922 rushing yards ranks second in school history despite the fact that he played just three collegiate seasons. Maroney also caught 21 passes for 198 yards and a touchdown and returned 28 kickoffs for 667 yards and a touchdown.

Rasby, 33, is entering his 12th NFL season and has played in 144 career games with 69 starts. The 6-foot-3-inch, 255-pound tight end was originally signed by the Pittsburgh Steelers as an undrafted free agent in 1994. After appearing in two games as a rookie with the Steelers, the Wake Forest product moved on to play for the Carolina Panthers (1995-97), Detroit Lions (1998-2000), Washington Redskins (2001-02, 2004) and New Orleans Saints (2003). He returned to the Steelers on Dec. 7, 2004 after being released by the Redskins and played in the final four games of that year for Pittsburgh. He spent last season's training camp with Pittsburgh and was released by the Steelers on Sept. 4, 2005 in the final preseason roster cutdown. In his 11-year career, Rasby has caught 64 passes for 584 yards and five touchdowns. He set a single-season career high with 15 receptions in 1998 while starting all 16 games for Detroit. His single-season career high receiving yardage total (128) was set in 2001 when he started 11 of 16 games for Washington.

Herring, 23, was signed by the Patriots as an undrafted free agent on May 8, 2006. The 5-foot-11-inch, 205-pound safety played in 49 games with 22 starts over four seasons at the University of Florida from 2002-05. As a senior in 2005, he led all Gators defensive backs with 63 tackles, while starting all 12 games at free safety.

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