FOXBOROUGH, Mass. - The New England Patriots signed first-year free agent defensive lineman Ifo Pili today. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed. Pili will wear number 99 for the Patriots. Additionally, New England placed rookie linebacker Ryan Claridge on the reserve/injured list with a shoulder injury.
Pili, 25, was originally signed by the Houston Texans as an undrafted free agent on April 28, 2004. The 6-foot-3-inch, 340-pound defensive lineman was released by the Texans on August 13, 2004 and was signed onto the Philadelphia Eagles' practice squad on December 15, 2004, where he remained through Super Bowl XXXIX. Pili attended Brigham Young University, where he played in 45 career games and tallied 123 tackles and six sacks for the Cougars, earning honorable mention All-Mountain West Conference honors as a junior and as a senior.
Claridge, 24, was selected by the Patriots in the fifth round (170th overall) of the 2005 NFL Draft. The 6-foot-2-inch, 254-pound linebacker started 39 of 49 games at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas, where he earned All-Mountain West Conference honors three times. As a senior in 2004, Claridge led the conference and ranked ninth in the country with nine sacks, while starting all 10 games at inside linebacker. In his collegiate career, the Almont, Mich. native recorded 290 tackles (143 solo) with 18.5 sacks, two fumble recoveries, 10 forced fumbles, two interceptions and 10 passes defensed.