FOXBOROUGH, Mass.- The New England Patriots announced the signings of veteran free agent wide receiver Dedric Ward and restricted free agent running back Patrick Pass today. Terms of today's signings were not disclosed.
Ward, 28, has started 33 of 88 games during his six-year NFL career and has 159 receptions for 2,196 yards and 11 touchdowns. He also has 106 career punt returns for 886 yards (8.4 avg.) and 5 kickoff returns for 70 yards. The 5-foot-9-inch, 185-pound veteran joins the Patriots after six seasons with AFC East division rivals, including the last two seasons with the Miami Dolphins. He was originally drafted by the New York Jets out of Northern Iowa in the third round of the 1997 NFL draft (88th overall). He became a regular starter by his third season with the Jets in 1999, starting 10 of 16 games. The following season, he started every game for the Jets and recorded career highs with 54 receptions for 801 yards. He also led the team with 27 punt returns for 214 yards. He signed with the Miami Dolphins as an unrestricted free agent on April 18, 2001. He appeared in 29 games in two seasons, but just two as a starter, and contributed 40 receptions for 381 yards with the Dolphins.
Pass, 25, was drafted by the Patriots in the seventh round of the 2000 NFL draft out of Georgia. The 5-foot-10-inch, 217-pound back has played three seasons with the Patriots as a reserve and has rushed for 92 yards on 23 carries during his career. He also contributes on special teams and was credited with 19 tackles over the past two seasons.