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Patriots sign seven Free Agents

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. - The New England Patriots signed seven free agent players today, including four players who finished the 2002 season on the Patriots' practice squad; cornerback Dyshod Carter, guard Brandon Gorin, defensive tackle Ken Kocher and wide receiver Scott McCready. The Patriots also re-signed wide receiver T.C. Taylor, as well as linebacker Courtney Ledyard and Connecticut quarterback Shane Stafford.

Carter, 24, joins the Patriots after finishing the 2002 campaign on the team'was originally signed by the Kansas City Chiefs as a rookie free agent on April 26, 2001, but was released following training camp on Aug. 28. The 5-foot-10-inch, 197-pounder was then signed to the Cleveland Browns practice squad on Oct. 9, 2001. Carter was elevated to the Browns active roster on Oct. 24, but was waived and re-signed to their practice squad on Nov. 9. He returned to the active roster on Nov. 29 and played in the final five games of the regular season and totaled two special teams tackles. During his collegiate career, Carter tallied 140 tackles (111 solos) and 13 interceptions while at Kansas State (1997-2000).

Gorin, 24, was originally drafted by the San Diego Chargers in the seventh round (201st overall) of the 2001 NFL draft. He spent the entire 2001 season with the Chargers, but was inactive for all 16 games. He was released by the Chargers following the preseason in 2002 and signed to the Patriots practice squad on Sept. 5, 2002. The 6-foot-6-inch, 302-pound lineman was a three-year starter at Purdue (1998-01) along with Patriots starting left tackle Matt Light.

Kocher, 22, was signed by the Green Bay Packers as a non-drafted rookie free agent out of UCLA following the 2002 NFL draft on April 26, 2002. The 6-foot-3-inch, 315-pound prospect was released from the Packers on August 28, prior to the start of the 2002 season and signed to the Patriots practice squad on Oct. 28, 2002. The Fullerton, Calif. native attended Patrick Henry High in San Diego, where he earned SuperPrep Magazine's Far West Defensive Player of the Year honors as a senior.

Ledyard, 25, signed with the New York Jets as a rookie free agent in 2000 after starting 34 of 48 games at Michigan State. The 6-foot-2-inch, 250-pound linebacker appeared in four games for the Jets that season and was credited with one special teams tackle. He returned to the Jets in 2001, but was released at the beginning of the regular season on Sept. 10, 2001.

McCready, 25, was signed by the Patriots as a rookie free agent out of South Florida on April 27, 2001. The 6-foot, 200-pound wide receiver was waived by the team on June 25, 2001 and later re-signed to their practice squad on Oct. 31, 2001. He was allocated to the Scottish Claymores of NFL Europe last spring and led the team with 22 receptions for 310 yards and 2 touchdowns. He was released by the Patriots on Aug. 24, but was re-signed to the practice squad on Oct. 16.

Stafford, 26, joins the Patriots after two seasons with the Tampa Bay Storm of the Arena Football League. In 2002, he completed 203 of 323 passes for 2,164 yards and 39 touchdowns, with just 7 interceptions, for a passer rating of 112.9. The 6-foot-3-inch, 220-pound quarterback started 38 of 40 games for the University of Connecticut and completed 563 of 1,026 passes for 8,975 yards and 73 touchdowns with just 29 interceptions. He holds numerous school passing records and was named to the Connecticut Football 100th Anniversary All-Time Team.

Taylor, 24, was signed by the Patriots as a rookie free agent out of Jackson State on April 26, 2002. The 6-foot-4-inch, 220-pounder made the transition from quarterback to wide receiver as a junior at Jackson State. In his senior year, he established the school's single-season receiving record with 84 receptions for 1,234 yards and 11 touchdowns. He was released by the Patriots on Sept. 1, 2002, but was re-signed to the team's practice squad on Sept. 17. He was released and re-signed during October before being released again on Oct. 26, 2002.

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