The New England Patriots signed unrestricted free agent cornerback Terrell Buckley today. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed. Subsequently, the team announced the release of three players, running back Frank Moreau, fullback Philip Crosby and long snapper Sean McDermott.
Buckley, 32, returns to New England for his third stint with the Patriots, having played in a total of 31 games for the team in 2001 and 2002. The 12-year veteran spent last season with the Miami Dolphins, and has played in 189 career games with 131 starts for the Packers, Dolphins, Broncos and Patriots. Buckley ranks third among all active NFL players with 47 career interceptions, trailing just Rod Woodson (71) and Aeneas Williams (55). His career totals include 541 tackles (487 solo) and 47 interceptions for 763 yards with six touchdowns, in addition to two sacks, nine forced fumbles, seven fumble recoveries and 156 pass defenses. Last season with the Dolphins, Buckley played in all 16 games with five starts and recorded 51 tackles (42 solo), with two interceptions, including a 74-yard return for a touchdown against Buffalo.
The 5-foot-9-inch, 176-pound Florida State product returns to the team with which he earned a Super Bowl ring following the 2001 season. New England signed Buckley as an unrestricted free agent on July 13, 2001, and he played in 15 regular season games and all three of the Patriots postseason games that season. Buckley contributed to the Patriots' first championship with an interception in the 2001 AFC Championship Game and a fumble recovery in Super Bowl XXXVI that led to a Patriots touchdown. He signed with Tampa Bay as an unrestricted free agent prior to the 2002 season, but rejoined the Patriots four days before the season opener after being released by the Buccaneers. Buckley quickly settled back into his role in New England in 2002, starting in two of 16 games and tying for the team lead with four interceptions, including two picks in the season opener against Pittsburgh on Monday Night Football. He signed with Miami as an unrestricted free agent prior to the 2003 season.
The Pascagoula, Miss., native was drafted by the Green Bay Packers in the first round (fifth overall) of the 1992 NFL Draft. He spent his first three seasons with the Packers, starting in 44 of 46 games, before joining the Miami Dolphins in a trade prior to the 1995 season. Buckley enjoyed five solid seasons in Miami from 1995-99, starting in 79 games and recording career highs with 93 tackles in 1997 and eight interceptions in 1998. He signed a one-year contract with the Denver Broncos as an unrestricted free agent prior to the 2000 season and started in all 16 games while leading the team with six interceptions.
The Patriots signed McDermott as a free agent on Dec. 10, 2003 and handled the team's long snapping duties in a 27-13 victory over the Jaguars on Dec. 14, 2003. He suffered an injury in that game and was placed on injured reserve on Dec. 17.
Both Philip Crosby and Frank Moreau were signed by the Patriots as free agents immediately following the 2003 season on Feb. 6, 2004.