Pats official announcement on Bryant

Here’s the official announcement, which came down moments ago, from the Patriots on the signing of Fernando Bryant:

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — The New England Patriots signed free agent cornerback Fernando Bryant today. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

“Adding a cornerback with Fernando’s experience and production is a good opportunity for us,” said Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick.

Bryant, 30, is a veteran of nine NFL seasons with the Jacksonville Jaguars (1999-2003) and the Detroit Lions (2004-07). The 5-foot-10-inch, 184-pound cornerback has played in 110 career games with 109 starts and has totaled 509 tackles (435 solo), seven interceptions, 88 passes defensed, three forced fumbles and seven fumble recoveries. Last season with Detroit, Bryant started every game at left cornerback and made 76 tackles, his highest single-season total since his rookie season (1999). He also tied his career high with a pair of interceptions for the Lions in 2007 and tied another career best with 14 passes defensed.

Bryant was drafted by the Jaguars in the first round (26th overall) of the 1999 NFL Draft from the University of Alabama. He spent the first five years of his career with Jacksonville (1999-2003), playing in 72 games with 71 starts over that period. As a rookie in 1999, he was named to all of the major all-rookie teams as he started every game and finished second among Jaguars defensive backs with a career-high 78 tackles in addition to a pair of interceptions, one forced fumble and three fumble recoveries. He started both of the Jaguars playoff games following the 1999 season and recorded an interception in the AFC Championship Game against Tennessee. In 2000, he started all 14 games in which he played and led Jacksonville’s cornerbacks with 57 tackles and added an interception. Bryant led Jaguars cornerbacks with 56 tackles in 2001, despite playing in only 10 games with nine starts. He was placed on the reserve/injured list with a foot injury the week before the 2001 regular season finale. He started every game of the 2002 and 2003 seasons for the Jaguars, totaling 67 tackles and an interception in 2002 and concluding his Jacksonville career with 71 tackles and an interception in 2003.

Bryant was signed as an unrestricted free agent by the Lions on March 5, 2004. In his first season with Detroit, Bryant started all 10 games in which he played and led Lions cornerbacks with 48 tackles. He started the first two games of the 2005 season before being placed on the reserve/injured list with a clavicle injury. He started all 10 games in which he appeared in 2006 and recorded 46 tackles that year.

Report: Patriots sign CB Bryant

According to this report, the Patriots have officially agreed to a deal with cornerback Fernando Bryant, who was released last month after four years with the Lions.

Belichick gets crap from some U of F students

Here’s a report from Florida where Belichick was spotted at the University of Florida-San Diego State NIT game Wednesday night in Gainesville. He was in town, hanging out with Urban Meyer. According to this report, he got some crap from students.

Not sure of everyone’s politics, but here’s a columnist in The Huffington Post who says Belichick would make the perfect vice presidential candidate for Hillary Clinton. A funny read.

Patriots re-sign Mike Wright

The Patriots have just announced they’ve re-signed defensive lineman Mike Wright. Here’s the full text of their statement:

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — The New England Patriots re-signed restricted free agent defensive lineman Mike Wright today. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

Wright, 26, has played in 38 games with five starts over three NFL seasons (2005-07), all with the Patriots. He was signed by New England as a rookie free agent on April 29, 2005. The 6-foot-4-inch, 295-pound defensive lineman played in nine games with one start for the Patriots last season and recorded 12 tackles (9 solo). He was placed on the reserve/injured list with a foot injury on Dec. 13, 2007. In 2006, Wright played in all 16 games with four starts and had a career-high 47 tackles (32 solo) and also totaled seven special teams tackles. As a rookie in 2005, Wright played in 13 games and recorded 16 tackles (10 solo) before being placed the reserve/injured list with an ankle injury just prior to the 2005 playoffs. Wright has recorded 75 career tackles (51 solo), including 1.5 sacks, and has had one forced fumble, two fumble recoveries and nine special teams tackles.

Some out of the way Patriots-related links for Friday morning

Hey all … pretty sure these haven’t been posted yet. Happy Friday.

•A report from West Virginia on the recent “roast” for Troy Brown, which took place in Huntington. While it notes that Bill Belichick and Bob Kraft were in attendance, it doesn’t have any quotes from the two. We’ll keep looking to try and find more from this.

•An interesting profile in the Jerusalem Post on Myra Kraft, which includes her take on “SpyGate.” She doesn’t hold back on saying what she really feels on Sen. Arlen Specter’s interest: “That Congress should be dealing with this stuff while troops are in Iraq and the country is in a recession is appalling.”

•Have you ever had someone take a picture of you right before you kissed someone and found that pre-kiss face is really goofy looking? That looks to be the case right here. (For a similar story — without the goofy pre-kiss face — click here.

Patriots sign Ventrone

The Patriots have just announced they have re-signed Ray “Bubba” Ventrone. Here’s the official release from the team on the transaction:

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — The New England Patriots re-signed exclusive rights free agent safety Ray Ventrone today. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

Ventrone, 24, was originally signed by the Patriots as an undrafted free agent on April 28, 2005. He has played in two regular-season games and two playoff contests in his career, all with the Patriots last season.

The 5-foot-10-inch, 200-pound defensive back spent the 2005 season as a member of New England’s practice squad. After spending the 2006 season on injured reserve, Ventrone was signed by the New York Jets on Feb. 21, 2007. He was released by the Jets in the final preseason roster cuts on Sept. 2, 2007 and was signed to New York’s practice squad two days later. Ventrone was released from the Jets practice squad on Sept. 12, 2007. He was signed to the Patriots practice squad on Sept. 19 and was signed to the active roster on Nov. 3. Ventrone made his NFL debut in the Patriots’ 24-20 win at Indianapolis on Nov. 4. He was released on Nov. 7 and re-signed to the practice squad on Nov. 9. He was re-signed to the Patriots’ active roster on Dec. 22, 2007 and played in the Patriots’ regular-season finale against the New York Giants on Dec. 29. He also saw action in the AFC Championship Game against San Diego on Jan. 20 and in Super Bowl XLII against the New York Giants on Feb. 3. He recorded his first career special teams tackle in Super Bowl XLII.

Moss Restraining Order Dropped

The Patriots are two-for-two in the leagal department this week: word out of Miami is that the restraining order against Randy Moss has been dropped.

Lawyers to withdraw suit against Patriots over “Spygate”

Looks like we’ll have to find a new candidate for “Most Frivolous Lawsuit of the Year.” According to this story, lawyers for a former Rams player and three fans plan to withdraw a lawsuit that accuses the New England Patriots of cheating in Super Bowl XXXVI.

Patriots release regarding Williams, Sanders

Here’s the official press release on the Patriots’ signings:

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — The New England Patriots signed veteran free agent cornerback Lewis Sanders and veteran free agent safety Tank Williams today. Terms of the agreements were not disclosed.

Lewis Sanders, 29, is a veteran of eight NFL seasons with the Cleveland Browns (2000-2004), Houston Texans (2005-06) and Atlanta Falcons (2007). The 6-foot-1-inch, 210-pound cornerback has played in 87 career games with 25 starts and has recorded 172 career tackles (137 solo), one sack, five interceptions for 90 yards, 31 passes defensed, one forced fumble and two fumble recoveries, while also totaling 51 special teams tackles.

Last season with Atlanta, Sanders played in 14 games with six starts after being signed by the Falcons as an unrestricted free agent on March 7, 2007. He recorded 32 tackles (28 solo) and two passes defensed before being placed on the reserve/injured list with a chest injury on Dec. 17, 2007. He was released by the Falcons on Feb. 15, 2008.

Prior to joining the Falcons, Sanders spent two seasons with Houston after signing as an unrestricted free agent on March 8, 2005. During his tenure with the Texans, Sanders played in a total of 21 games with 10 starts. In 2005, he made 22 tackles (18 solo) while earning three starts in 12 games. The following season, he played in nine games while starting a career-high seven contests and also set a career high with 37 tackles (29 solo) before being placed on the reserve/injured list with a hand injury on Nov. 14, 2006.

Sanders was drafted by the Cleveland Browns in the fourth round (95th overall) of the 2000 NFL Draft out of the University of Maryland. He spent the first five seasons of his career with Cleveland, playing in a total of 52 games with nine starts over that period, totaling 81 tackles (62 solo), one sack and four interceptions. As a rookie in 2000, he played in 11 games with one start and had 21 tackles and an interception. He missed the entire 2001 season with a leg injury, but returned in 2002 to play in all 16 games with two starts while totaling a career-high 13 special teams tackles. In 2003, he played in nine games with his lone start coming at New England on Oct. 26. In 2004, his final season in Cleveland, Sanders played in every game with five starts and set a career high with two interceptions.

Tank Williams, 27, is a veteran of six NFL seasons with the Tennessee Titans (2002-05) and Minnesota Vikings (2006-07). The 6-foot-2-inch, 223-pound safety has played in 70 career games with 59 starts and has recorded 303 career tackles (232 solo), 4.5 sacks, five interceptions for 14 yards, 27 passes defensed, four forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries. He has also blocked two field goals.

Last season with Minnesota, Williams played in 13 games with two starts and had 18 tackles (12 solo) on defense and added seven special teams stops. Williams missed the entire 2006 season with a knee injury after signing with the Vikings as an unrestricted free agent on March 23, 2006.

Williams was drafted by the Tennessee Titans in the second round (45th overall) of the 2002 NFL Draft out of Stanford. He spent the first four years of his career in Tennessee, starting all 57 games in which he appeared over that span, recording 285 tackles (220 solo), 4.5 sacks and five interceptions. As a rookie in 2002, Williams started every game for the Titans and totaled 69 tackles, posting at least five tackles in a game eight times, and recording an interception, 10 passes defensed and adding a strip-sack that resulted in a fumble return for a touchdown against Indianapolis. He also blocked a field goal in the 2002 regular season finale. In 2003, Williams once again started every game and finished fourth on the Titans with 81 tackles, helping Tennessee lead the NFL in rushing defense. He started the first nine games of the 2004 season, but was placed on the reserve/injured list on Nov. 29 with a knee injury and missed the remainder of the year. He returned in 2005 to start every game for the Titans and led all Tennessee defensive backs with a career-high 83 tackles.

More out-of-town Patriots links for your Wednesday afternoon

A few quick Patriots-related links for everyone to enjoy this afternoon:

•There’s a restaurant in New York that may have video of Tom Brady and Gisele “hooking up.”

•New Bills linebacker Kawika Mitchell tells a Buffalo radio station the secret to beating Brady and the Patriots. (Oh no! Whatever will the Patriots do? Their secret is out!) All I can say is that it’s easy to make these statements when you’re lined up alongside Justin Tuck and Osi Umenyiora. Not so much when you’re with the Bills, a team that could only manage 26 sacks last year.

•I know I sit at my desk and while away the hours with questions like “Whatever happened to Michael Bishop?” Turns out he’s talking to schoolkids about the importance of a good education. A nice story where he shares some of his memories about his time with the Patriots, including his relationship with Brady.

•Expect local sales of Myo-Med to go through the roof with this announcement.

•Bill Belichick is gonna be helping out his old buddy Nick Saban early next month.

•I have no idea what this story means — I am a journalist, not an accountant — but it doesn’t look like good news for the Patriots.

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