Patriots re-sign Gaffney

Here’s the official release, issued moments ago by the team, on the re-signing of wide receiver Jabar Gaffney:

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – The New England Patriots re-signed veteran wide receiver Jabar Gaffney today. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

Gaffney, 27, is a veteran of six NFL seasons with the Houston Texans (2002-05) and the Patriots (2006-07). He has played in 91 games with 63 starts and has caught 218 passes for 2,600 yards and 13 touchdowns.

“Jabar is a good fit for our offense,” said Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick. “He has been a versatile and dependable player who steps up in whatever role is asked of him.”

The 6-foot-1-inch, 200-pound wide receiver was signed by the Patriots as a free agent on Oct. 6, 2006, and has played in 27 games with 13 starts for the Patriots over the last two seasons. Last season, Gaffney played in all 16 games with seven starts and caught 36 passes for 449 yards and a career-high five touchdowns. His 36 receptions tied for fifth on the team, while his five touchdown receptions ranked fourth on the club. Gaffney caught 24 of his 36 passes in the final seven games of the regular season, placing him third on the team over that span behind Wes Welker (51) and Randy Moss (42). Additionally, four of Gaffney’s five touchdown receptions came in the season’s final seven games, trailing only Moss (11) on the team over that period. In 2006, Gaffney played in the final 11 games of the regular season for the Patriots and caught 11 passes for 142 yards and a touchdown. In the 2006 playoffs, he started all three of New England’s games and led the team with 21 receptions for 244 yards and two touchdowns. He became the first player in NFL history to record back-to-back playoff games with eight or more catches for 100 or more yards in the same postseason, catching eight passes for 104 yards in a first-round playoff game against the New York Jets (1/7/07) and following that with a 10-catch performance for 103 yards the following week at San Diego (1/14/07).

The University of Florida product was selected by the Houston Texans in the second round (33rd overall) of the 2002 NFL Draft. Gaffney spent his first four NFL seasons with the Texans and played in 64 games with 50 starts for Houston over that period, recording 171 receptions for 2,009 yards and seven touchdowns. In 2005 with the Texans, he finished second on the team with a career-high 55 receptions for 492 yards and two touchdowns while playing in all 16 games with 13 starts. In 2004, he finished second on the team with a career-high 632 receiving yards on 41 catches, totaling two touchdowns while starting 12 of 16 games. He signed with the Philadelphia Eagles as an unrestricted free agent on March 16, 2006 and was released in the final preseason roster cutdown on Sept. 2, 2006.

Pats official release on Moss signing

The Patriots just issued this release:

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – The New England Patriots re-signed wide receiver Randy Moss and signed unrestricted free agent wide receiver Sam Aiken today. Terms of the agreements were not disclosed.

Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick on Randy Moss: “What Randy did for our team last year was outstanding. He is one of our most consistent, competitive and team-oriented players and it is undoubtedly a relationship we are excited to continue.”

Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick on Sam Aiken: “Competing against Sam many times over the years, we know firsthand what he brings to us. We’re glad he is a Patriot.”

Randy Moss, 31, is a veteran of 10 NFL seasons with the Minnesota Vikings (1998-2004), Oakland Raiders (2005-06) and Patriots (2007). The 6-foot-4-inch, 210-pound wide receiver has played in 154 career games with 148 starts and has caught 774 passes for 12,193 yards (15.8 avg.) and 124 touchdowns. He holds the NFL single-season record for touchdown receptions with 23 in 2007. Moss’s 124 career receiving touchdowns rank fourth in NFL history, while his 12,193 receiving yards rank 14th and his 774 receptions rank 20th. Moss has recorded eight seasons with 1,000 or more receiving yards and has caught 10 or more touchdown passes in seven seasons. Over his 10-year career, Moss has averaged one touchdown for every 6.24 receptions, a total that is the best in NFL history among any receiver with at least 500 receptions. His 55 career 100-yard receiving games rank third in league history, while his average of 79.2 receiving yards per game also places third in league annals.

The Patriots acquired Moss from the Oakland Raiders in exchange for a fourth-round selection in the 2007 NFL Draft (110th overall) on April 29, 2007. New England acquired the 110th overall selection from the San Francisco 49ers on April 28, 2007 along with the 49ers’ 2008 first-round selection in exchange for a 2007 first-round selection (28th overall – T Joe Staley).

In 2007, Moss caught 98 passes for 1,493 yards and 23 touchdowns. His 23 touchdown receptions set an all-time single-season NFL record, surpassing Jerry Rice’s old mark of 22, set in 1987. Moss’s 1,493 receiving yards set a Patriots single-season franchise record, while his 23 total touchdowns also set a team mark, topping Curtis Martin’s 17 touchdowns in 1996. He caught four touchdown passes in a game against Buffalo on Nov. 18, 2007, setting a Patriots single-game record. Among the honors and awards Moss received in 2007 were selections to the Pro Bowl, the Associated Press All-Pro First Team, the Pro Football Weekly/PFWA All-NFL Team and the All-Pro teams of the Sporting News, USA Today, ESPN and Sports Illustrated. He was named the AFC Offensive Player of the Month for November 2007 and was named the AFC Offensive Player of the Week twice during the 2007 season.

Moss was drafted by the Minnesota Vikings in the first round (21st overall) of the 1998 NFL Draft. He was traded to the Raiders on March 2, 2005 in exchange for linebacker Napoleon Harris, a first-round pick in the 2005 NFL Draft (7th overall) and a seventh-round pick in the 2005 NFL Draft.

The West Virginia native was named to the Associated Press All-Pro Team following the 1998, 2000, 2003 and 2007 seasons and has earned six career Pro Bowl selections (1998, 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003 and 2007).

Sam Aiken, 27, has played in 64 career games with two starts over five NFL seasons, all with the Buffalo Bills (2003-07). The 6-foot-2-inch, 215-pound wide receiver was selected by the Bills in the fourth round (127th overall) of the 2003 NFL Draft out of the University of North Carolina. Aiken has recorded 19 career receptions for 250 yards and has totaled 61 career special teams tackles.

As a rookie in 2003, Aiken appeared in five games for the Bills and had three catches for 35 yards while totaling four special teams stops. In 2004, Aiken played in every game while totaling a career-high 11 receptions for 148 yards and adding 14 special teams tackles. He played in every game again in 2005 and made the only two starts of his career that season while catching four passes for 57 yards. His 24 special teams tackles in 2005 ranked second on the team and stand as a single-season career high. Aiken played in 15 games in 2006 and notched 13 special teams tackles. Last season, Aiken played in 12 games for Buffalo and caught a pass for 10 yards while tallying six special teams tackles.

Some random Patriots links and notes from around the Interweb

Here are a few picked up Patriots’ notes from a weekend of free agent activity.

•Something called Titans Radio says that Eugene Wilson will be coming to Tennessee for a visit. That is, if he gets past Tampa Bay, Pittsburgh and the New York Jets.

•Wanna know where Head Coach Bill Belichick was yesterday? Catching some red-hot lacrosse action at Johns Hopkins. (Thought the “stealing signals” reference in the lead was a bit much, but hey, it is what it is.)

This really makes me nuts. I usually really like Adam Schefter, but, jeez. He was at the Super Bowl. Did he hear the way Randy Moss talked about the Packers? My colleague Chris Gasper did a good job touching on this this past weekend over at “Reiss’s Pieces,” but it bears repeating: At the Super Bowl, Moss did not sound like a guy who wanted anything to do with the Packers. I know that cash can change a lot, but those quotes from a month ago sounds like that bridge was burned.

•It’s kinda goofy, but I like this, only because it offers us a break from all the breathless faux reporting of “Randy Moss might go to team (fill-in-the-blank)” nonsense.

More Arlen Specter talk. Click on it if you dare.

A few random thoughts

To paraphrase the great Chad Finn, a few free moments for me means a few random football-related thoughts for you….

•Boy, Asante couldn’t get out of town fast enough, huh? What, free agency was, like 17 hours old before he was signed, sealed and delivered to the Eagles? Personally, I was a little shocked that after making noise about wanting Nate Clements money, he seemed to settle for less than that. Hey, don’t get me wrong–I wouldn’t mind settling for that kind of scratch. But as the No. 1 cornerback on the free agent market, I was thinking he might have gotten more if he drove the price up with a bidding war. I think the folks in Foxborough are just happy he didn’t go to the Jets. I think he’ll do well in the Eagles’ defense. Good luck to him. My favorite memory of Samuel is probably not football related–it was either in his first or second year with the Patriots, and was talking about how difficult it is to survive as a shutdown corner in the NFL. “There ain’t no slapd*cks in this league,” he said with a stone-cold serious look on his face. Never could look at him the same way after that. Anyway, Godspeed, Asante–I’m told that it’s always sunny in Philadelphia.

•So what now? I’m thinking that chances are pretty good that Randall Gay is gonna follow Samuel out the door. I have absolutely nothing to base this on other than his interview with Greg Dickerson at the Garden the other night, but I just keep seeing Ty Law back in New England next season. I know he’s not the lockdown corner he used to be, but even at his age, I think he’s still a better option that most. Then, you take that first-round pick (whether it’s the seventh overall choice, or you trade down) and go and get a young corner. Maybe Aqib Talib? Leodis McKelvin? Maybe you have a sure thing in the later rounds–remember, Samuel was a fourth-rounder. I don’t know. But my point is, you’ve got options. All is not lost.

•I love the fact the Patriots re-signed Kelley Washington, and you should to. Washington is not only a truly great special teamer, but he’s a terrific guy to have in the locker room. A truly classy professional who brings a lot to the table. With Donote Stallworth not likely to come back, he should also see some reps at wide receiver next season. And while were on the special teamers, it was another no-brainer to re-up Lonie Paxton. When was the last time he botched a snap? And how often do you see games lost on bad snaps? A small price to pay for the peace of mind.

•One quick note–in a Boston Herald story published Friday, Patriots President Jonathan Kraft was boasting about the fact that New England has the No. 7 overall pick in the upcoming NFL draft. Kraft said, “Never in the modern history of the NFL has a Super Bowl-contending team had a draft pick in the top 10.” Well, not exactly. The Redskins beat the Bills in Super Bowl XXVI, 37-24, on Jan. 26, 1992. Roughly three months later, Washington used the No. 4 pick in the draft on kick returner Desmond Howard. Not sure if that’s nitpicking, but I think it needed to be said.

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