FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – The New England Patriots filled their roster vacancy today with the re-signing of veteran free agent Chris Hayes, who had been released by the Patriots at the end of the preseason on Aug. 30, 2002.
Hayes, 30, played five seasons with the New York Jets, where he earned a reputation as one of the team's leading special teams performers. The 6-foot, 206-pound safety was originally drafted by the New York Jets in the seventh round of the 1996 NFL draft out of Washington State. He was released by the Jets and spent part of his rookie season on the practice squads of the Washington Redskins and Green Bay Packers. He finished the season on the Packers active roster and saw action in each of their playoff games, including Super Bowl XXXI against the Patriots. He was re-acquired by the Jets via a trade with Green Bay and made an immediate impact by leading the team with 25 special teams tackles in 1997. While primarily used on special teams during his career, he also started eight games at safety in 2000 and finished that season with a career high 34 tackles and an interception.