FOXBORO, Mass. - The New England Patriots claimed linebacker Kole Ayi (pronounced: KO-lay eye-EE) off waivers from the New York Giants, today.
Ayi, 23, was originally signed by the St. Louis Rams as a rookie free agent on May 3, 2001. The 6-foot-1-inch, 231-pound linebacker made the 53-man roster as a rookie and appeared in the first six games for the Rams, compiling eight special teams tackles. He was waived on Oct. 23, 2001 and re-signed to the Rams' practice squad. The next day (10/25/01), the New York Giants signed Ayi. He was listed among the Giants' inactives for his three weeks with the team, before being waived on Tuesday. The Patriots were awarded their claim, bringing the New England native back home.
Ayi was the captain of the football and track teams as a senior at Nashua High in New Hampshire. He matriculated to the University of Massachusetts, where he led the team in tackles during his sophomore (165 tackles), junior (147) and senior (123) seasons. He earned first-team All-Atlantic 10 honors in both his junior and senior seasons.