SMITHFIELD, R.I. – The New England Patriots announced the signing of veteran offensive lineman Sale Isaia today. Terms of the contract were not disclosed. Subsequently, the Patriots released nose tackle Chuck Osborne.
Isaia, 29, returns to the Patriots after starting 14 of 16 games last season, establishing career-highs in both categories. The 6-foot-5-inch, 320-pound tackle first signed with the Patriots on Aug. 30, 2000 after being released from the Oakland Raiders. He was inserted into the Patriots starting lineup by the second week of the regular season and missed just one start (10/8/00) the remainder of the season.
Isaia was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the Cleveland Browns in 1995 and spent the season on injured reserve. He saw action on special teams and short yardage situations in nine games for the Baltimore Ravens in 1996. The next two seasons, 1997 and 1998, were spent on the Ravens injured reserve list. He played for the Frankfurt Galaxy of NFL Europe in 2000 before returning to the Raiders.
Osborne, 27, was signed by the Patriots as a free agent on Dec. 13, 2000. He was listed among the team's inactives prior to each of the final two regular season games. The 6-foot-2-inch, 295-pound nose tackle was originally drafted by the St. Louis Rams in the seventh round of the 1996 NFL draft. He started two of 16 games played as a rookie, but was waived on Aug. 19, 1997 and was out of football for the year. He played in 22 games over two seasons (1998-99) with the Oakland Raiders. He was traded to Green Bay on Aug. 27, 2000, but eventually released on Oct. 11 before playing in a game for the Packers.