FOXBOROUGH, Mass. - The New England Patriots announced three roster transactions today, signing linebacker Maugaula Tuitele, placing linebacker Matt Chatham on injured reserve with a broken hand and releasing rookie fullback Idris Price from the practice squad. With today's transactions, the Patriots remain at their roster limit of 53 players, but have one open position on their practice squad.
Tuitele, 24, returns to the Patriots after being released by the Buffalo Bills. The 6-foot-1-inch, 255-pound linebacker originally signed with the Patriots as a rookie free agent on April 19, 2000. He appeared in one game for the Patriots in each of his first two seasons in the NFL and recorded one defensive and one special teams tackle. He was released by the Patriots and re-signed to their practice squad in 2000 and 2001. He was released by the Patriots on Dec. 27, 2001 and spent the final week of the 2001 season on the practice squad of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Patriots re-signed him on Feb. 11, 2002 and allocated him to the Rhein Fire of NFL Europe, where he earned All-NFL Europe team honors.
Chatham, 25, had a career-high 15 special teams tackles through the first 13 games of the season, second only to Larry Izzo's 17 for the Patriots. The 6-foot-4-inch, 248-pound linebacker was claimed by the Patriots on Aug. 28, 2000 after being waived by the St. Louis Rams. He appeared in six games for the Patriots in 2000 and was credited with a pair of special teams tackles. In 2001, he appeared in 14 games, including three playoff games, and finished third on the team with 12 special teams tackles during the regular season.
Price, 26, was signed to the Patriots practice squad as a fullback on Nov. 20, 2002. He was originally signed by the New York Jets as a rookie free agent linebacker on April 26, 2002, but was waived following training camp on Aug. 27. The 6-foot, 240-pound linebacker led New Haven with 81 tackles during his senior year and was named to the ECAC Division II North All Star team in 2001.