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Small in for a visit

On the market for reliable wide receivers, the New England Patriots brought Torrance Small in for a workout Wednesday.

The 6-3, 209-pound Small, who turns 31 in September, was the third-leading receiver for the Philadelphia Eagles in 2000 with 40 catches for 569 yards and three touchdowns. His 14.2 yards per catch led the team. In 29 games over two seasons with Philadelphia he caught 89 passes for 1,224 yards and seven touchdowns.

"There is a finite market of guys that fit the bill for what New England is looking for, and I think Torrance is in that group," said Rich De Luca, Small's agent. "He really would be a good fit. He is very proficient going over the middle, and he has deceiving speed. He is not a 4.3 (40-yard dash) guy, but he is a 4.5 guy and he has a few 70 and 80 yard scores in the last couple years. He also brings a lot of experience that helps any team."

Small, who started every game he played in Philadelphia, was released on March 1 as part of a youth movement. The Eagles also released their other starter, Charles Johnson, who also is reportedly working out for the Patriots. Johnson and Small were the second- and third-leading receivers for the Eagles last season, but the team drafted UCLA's Freddie Mitchell in the first round and also signed Washington's James Thrash to a five-year deal this offseason.

At the time of Small's release, Eagles Head Coach Andy Reid praised the receiver in a team statement.

"Torrance has done a nice job over the last two years in Philadelphia," Reid said. "However, we decided to go in a different direction."

The 10th-year veteran also would serve as a solid locker room presence.

"Torrance has a very good reputation as a good guy to have in the locker room," De Luca said. "The Eagles really had nothing but good things to say about him, and he was one of (Donovan) McNabb's favorite guys. McNabb said Torrance really helped him adjust to the NFL, especially in his rookie year."

For his career he has 342 receptions for 4,573 yards and 31 touchdowns in 130 games, including 56 starts. He has played for Philadelphia, Indianapolis, St. Louis and New Orleans. In nine seasons he has caught at least 40 passes six times, including a career-high 50 with the Saints in 1996. Despite only four starts in 16 games with the Colts in 1998, Small had 45 catches for 681 yards and seven touchdowns.

"He is pretty familiar with the offense in New England, and they are pretty familiar with him from seeing him through the years with different teams," De Luca said. "Torrance has always been a solid third guy, and he can also step up and be a second started when the situation calls for it."

Leroy back on waivers

Recently acquired defensive tackle Emarlos Leroy was waived after he failed a physical. Leroy was claimed off waivers from Jacksonville last week.

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