(47) Barry Gardner who played at ILB on the 2nd string squad today.
The guy is 245 lb -- big enough to play at the ILB position. He is a 8 year veteran. He not only is a good Special teamer, he has had spot starter duty at all LB positions.
He earned the LOLB spot by week 11 his rookie year, started 13 games in 2000 (ranked 3rd on tackles), appeared in all 16 games and led the team in special team tackles in 2001, in 2002 he led the club for the second consecutive season with 23 special teams tackles; he also that year appeared in all 16 regular season games with 38 tackles, including 20 solo, 1 sack, 1 PBU and 1 fumble recovered....
In 2003 (first year with the Browns) he appeared in all 16 regular season games and led the club with 22 special teams tackles, he also had at the linebacker position 23 defensive tackles, including 14 solo that year. In 2004, "he finished the season with 31 tackles, one INT, one PD and 16 special teams' tackles in 14 games played with five starts...Started at MLB in the season finale at Houston and helped the Browns' defense hold the Texans' offense to 238 net yards, including 102 net yards passing...Started at MLB and finished with five tackles, three solo, in game 15 at Miami...Started and led the club with a career-high 14 tackles, six solo, in game 14 vs San Diego."
Last year he was with the Jets, he appeared in 16 games, starting one and finished the season with 17 tackles, 13 solo.
Per ESPN (I dug up the article)
"A seven-year veteran and former second-round draft choice, Gardner is the more notable of the pair and, given his experience and the Patriots' lack of depth at the inside linebacker spot, probably has the better chance to contribute from scrimmage. Gardner, 29, has appeared in 110 games in seven seasons and has missed only two contests because of injury."
"In his career, Gardner has 271 tackles, two sacks, one interception, six passes defensed, five forced fumbles and three recoveries. His best season was in 2000, with the Philadelphia Eagles, when he had 60 tackles. The Eagles chose Gardner, who has made 24 starts, in the second round of the 1999 draft."
"Gardner has played every linebacker position during his NFL career and that versatility is one element that attracted New England officials. He is probably best suited, in the Patriots' 3-4 scheme, to one of the inside linebacker slots, where the team can use more experience."
"Another component of Gardner's game that the Patriots like is his solid play on special teams coverage units. In stints with the Eagles (1999-2002), Cleveland (2003-2004) and Jets (2005), Gardner has 92 special teams tackles. He was released by the Jets earlier this spring."
SO, the question is WHY were we more concerned this off-season about Claridge, than this guy who (with his ST play) has a good chance of even making the 45 active.