New England made the signings of guard Rich Tylski and linebacker Marty Moore official late Friday afternoon.
Both deals, which were reported before the announcement, bring quality veteran presence to the field and locker room. Tylski, a starter at right guard for the last two seasons in Pittsburgh, becomes the 14th offensive lineman on the roster, while Moore, getting his third stint with the team, is a quality special teams player and reserve on defense.
In two years with the Steelers Tylski started 26 games, including all 16 in 2000. Last season he had 10 starts, but only one of the final six games because of a rib injury. He also missed action early in the season with an ankle injury, but in the postseason he started against New England in the AFC Championship game.
The 6-4, 306-pound Tylski has started 62 of the 77 games he has played since 1996. He spent four seasons on the active roster in Jacksonville before signing with Pittsburgh before the 2000 season. He came into the league with New England as an undrafted rookie free agent out of Utah State in 1994 and spent the season on the Patriots practice squad. Tylski then spent 1995 on the Jaguars practice squad before cracking the lineup in 1996.
While Tylski brings valuable experience to the team, the line is actually one of the more stable areas of the team, with every lineman from last season's roster and practice squad returning. Tylski will compete with veterans Mike Compton and Joe Andruzzi, both of whom started every game for New England last season. Also in the mix at guard are veterans Kenyatta Jones and Grey Ruegamer; first-year players Drew Inzer and Stephen Neal; and NFL Europe allocations Mike Clare and Patrick Downey. Center Damien Woody also played guard last season in shotgun situations.
Moore, always a fan favorite in New England, was re-signed after being released on March 5 this offseason. The Patriots originally drafted him with the final pick in the 1994 NFL draft, earning Moore the moniker of "Mr. Irrelevant." He became the first such player to start his NFL debut when he replaced Todd Collins in the starting lineup in the 1994 opener against Miami.
Moore played six seasons with the team (1994-99) before signing with the Cleveland Browns as an unrestricted free agent in 2000. In eight seasons, he has played 112 games and had 175 tackles, one sack, three interceptions and 110 special teams stops.
Moore re-signed with New England just before the start of the 2001 season after spending one season in Cleveland, but he suffered an Achilles injury and was placed on injured reserve on Oct. 2. He played the first three games of the season, mostly on special teams, and had two defensive tackles.
New England now has 10 linebackers on its roster, though 1999 first-round pick Andy Katzenmoyer's future with the team is a big question mark. Besides Moore, the veterans with significant playing time on regular defense are Tedy Bruschi, Mike Vrabel, Ted Johnson and Ryan Phillips. Larry Izzo, Matt Chatham and Kole Ayi are the linebackers who focus mostly on the kicking game. Also on the roster is NFL Europe allocation Maugaula Tuitele.
With the signings of Tylski and Moore, the Patriots have 75 players signed to contracts. Deals with the six draft picks still have to be worked out.