FOXBOROUGH, Mass. - The New England Patriots signed veteran free agent defensive back Arturo Freeman and re-signed linebacker Wesly Mallard today. Terms of the agreements were not disclosed. Additionally, the team placed veteran cornerback Chad Scott on the reserve/injured list with a shoulder injury. New England also re-signed linebacker Eric Alexander to the practice squad after having waived him from the 53-man roster yesterday.
Freeman will wear number 25 and Mallard will wear number 96. The team also announced that linebacker Tully Banta-Cain will now wear number 95.
Freeman, 28, is in his sixth NFL season and has played in 72 games with 29 starts while spending the first five years of his career with the Miami Dolphins (2000-04). The 6-foot, 200-pound safety has recorded 199 career tackles (135 solo), 3.5 sacks, five interceptions, 22 passes defensed, two forced fumbles, one fumble recovery and 42 special teams tackles. Last season with the Dolphins, he started nine games at safety and tied for the team lead with a career-high four interceptions, including one against the Patriots in the final minute on Dec. 20, 2004. He started a career-high 16 games in 2002, while also setting career highs in tackles (96) and sacks (1.5). Freeman was released by the Dolphins on Feb. 23, 2005, and was in training camp with the Green Bay Packers and Tennessee Titans this summer. He was selected by Miami in the fifth round (152nd overall) of the 2000 NFL Draft out of South Carolina.
Mallard, 26, was signed by the Patriots as a veteran free agent on April 19, 2005. He played in the first two games of the season and recorded three special teams tackles (2 solo) before being released on Sept. 27. The 6-foot-1-inch, 230-pound linebacker and special teams player has appeared in 36 career games and is in his fourth NFL season. Mallard spent the first three years of his career (2002-04) with the New York Giants, who selected him in the sixth round (188th overall) of the 2002 NFL Draft out of Oregon. Mallard's career totals include four defensive tackles (3 solo) and 37 special teams tackles.
Scott, 31, was signed by the Patriots as a veteran free agent on April 26, 2005. The ninth-year veteran played in three games this season, recording two solo tackles. He joined the Patriots after spending eight seasons with the Pittsburgh Steelers, where he started 88 of 91 games from 1997-2004. The 6-foot-1-inch, 202-pound cornerback has recorded 19 career interceptions, including four that he returned for touchdowns. His career totals also include 432 tackles and 74 passes defensed.
Alexander, 23, is in his second NFL season after being signed by the Patriots as an undrafted free agent on April 29, 2004. The 6-foot-2-inch, 240-pound linebacker has played in four career NFL games and has recorded two special teams tackles. He was a member of the practice squad for the first four weeks of the 2005 season and was signed to the active roster on Oct. 8 and participated in last week's game against the Atlanta Falcons.