The Patriots continued adding veteran talent from the Bengals to the roster on Tuesday by reaching a one-year deal with free agent cornerback Jeff Burris just a day after acquiring former Cincinnati running back Corey Dillon.
The 6-0, 190-pound 10-year veteran played in 13 games with eight starts for the Bengals in 2003. He finished the season with 44 tackles, two interceptions, six passes defensed and one forced fumble. Burris missed three games late last season due complications from his second concussion of the season suffered on Nov. 2 against the Arizona Cardinals.
Originally drafted by the Bills in the first round of the 1994 draft (27th overall) out of Notre Dame, Burris spent his first four seasons in the NFL in Buffalo before moving on to Indianapolis as a free agent before the 1998 season. He spent four seasons with Colts and the last two with the Bengals. His career numbers include 144 games played with 119 starts, totaling 568 tackles, 19 interceptions, five sacks, 113 passes defensed, five forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries.
During his time in Indianapolis Burris spent three seasons as a teammate of current Patriots corner Tyrone Poole. According to agent Peter Schaffer, Poole played a key role in recruiting his client to join him in the secondary for the Super Bowl champions. Schaffer said that Burris entertained a number of options from different teams, but that in the end the opportunity to play for a winning team with a defensive coaching staff that is considered to be one of the best in football was simply too much to pass up.
"Jeff is close with Tyrone and that played a part in his decision," Schaffer said. "Tyrone had good things to say about the team, the system and the coaches. Jeff is looking forward to playing in New England and was very impressed with the program they have put in place there."
Burris adds depth and experience to a New England cornerback spot that now includes veteran Pro Bowler Ty Law, Poole, Otis Smith and second-year player Asante Samuel.