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Patriots Sign S Mel Mitchell

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. - The New England Patriots signed unrestricted free agent safety Mel Mitchell today. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

Mitchell, 27, joins the Patriots to begin his fifth NFL season after spending his first four years as a member of the New Orleans Saints. The 6-foot-1-inch, 222-pound defensive back and special teams specialist has recorded 64 career special teams tackles in 43 career NFL games. He has also recorded four defensive tackles (3 solo), two forced fumbles on special teams, one fumble recovery on special teams, one blocked punt and one recovery of a blocked punt in the end zone for a touchdown.

Last season, the Western Kentucky product played in 12 games and recorded 10 special teams tackles for New Orleans. His most productive season to date came in 2004, when he led the Saints with a career-high 29 special teams tackles and was named to the Sports Illustrated All-Pro team as a special teamer. On Oct. 3 of that season, he recovered a blocked punt in the end zone for a touchdown, becoming the first Saints player in 27 years to accomplish the feat. As a rookie in 2002, the Rockledge, Fla. native played in all 16 games and finished second on the team with 25 special teams tackles. Mitchell missed the entire 2003 season on injured reserve.

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