FOXBOROUGH, Mass. - The New England Patriots signed veteran defensive back Ray Mickens today. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed. Additionally, New England placed fourth-year defensive back Eugene Wilson on the reserve/injured list with a hamstring/groin injury. Wilson will miss the remainder of the 2006 season.
Mickens, 33, is in his 11th NFL season and has previously played for the New York Jets (1996-04) and Cleveland Browns (2005). The 5-foot-8-inch, 180-pound defensive back has played in 142 career games with 36 starts and has recorded 398 tackles (311 solo), including 6.0 sacks, 11 interceptions, 92 passes defensed, four forced fumbles, four fumble recoveries and 30 special teams tackles. Last season, with the Cleveland Browns, Mickens played in all 16 games and finished third on the team with 13 passes defensed. The Texas A&M product was originally selected by the New York Jets in the third round of the 1996 NFL Draft (62nd overall). Mickens started 10 of 15 contests as a rookie in 1996 and was a mainstay in the Jets secondary for eight seasons, playing in all but two games for New York from 1996-2003. He made a career-high 14 starts while playing in all 16 games in 2003 and also set career highs with 75 tackles (51 solo) and 18 passes defensed that season. After missing the entire 2004 season due to injury, Mickens was released by the Jets on Aug. 8, 2005 and signed with Cleveland the following week. After playing in every game for the Browns last season, he re-joined the Jets as a free agent on May 31, 2006. He was released by New York in the final preseason roster cutdown on Sept. 2, 2006.
Wilson, 26, has played in 51 games with 49 starts since being selected by the Patriots in the second round of the 2003 NFL Draft (36th overall). The 5-foot-10-inch, 195-pound defensive back played in four games for the Patriots this season, starting the first three at safety, and recorded 22 tackles (19 solo) and two passes defensed. After starting the first three games of 2006, he missed the next two contests before returning to action at Buffalo on Oct. 22, but he has missed all six games since then. In his four seasons with the Patriots, Wilson has recorded 219 tackles (163 solo), nine interceptions for 69 yards, 25 passes defensed, three forced fumbles, three fumble recoveries and 13 special teams tackles. He has also started eight playoff games and recorded two interceptions at Pittsburgh in the 2004 AFC Championship Game.