FOXBORO, Mass. - The New England Patriots announced the signing of veteran free agent safety Rob Kelly today. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Kelly, 27, joins the Patriots after four seasons with the New Orleans Saints (1997-00). He played in 60 games, including 12 starts, and recorded 90 defensive tackles (63 solos) and 37 special teams stops during his career. He also added four interceptions for 125 yards, including one that was returned 79 yards for a touchdown. In 2000, he finished second on the Saints with 15 special teams tackles in 12 games.
The Saints originally drafted the 6-foot, 199-pound safety in the second round (33rd overall) of the 1997 NFL draft. During his rookie season, he started two of the 16 games he played in and finished third on the squad with nine special teams tackles. He was also credited with 19 tackles (14 solos) and one interception. In 1998, he started three of 16 games and intercepted two passes, including the one he returned 79 yards for a touchdown at Miami (11/29/98), recorded 31 tackles (22 solos) and 10 special teams tackles. In 1999, he set a career-high with 35 tackles (23 solos) while starting seven of 16 games.