Patriots Release Brady, Sign Three Others

Kyle Brady (AP Photo)

The New England Patriots officially signed three players; LB Tedy Bruschi, LS Lonie Paxton and WR Kelley Washington on Friday. In addition, the team cut ties with veteran tight end Kyle Brady.

The biggest surprise cut at the start of free agency came when the Patriots parted ways with veteran tight end Kyle Brady on Friday.

Brady was a huge (literally) addition to the Patriots roster in 2007. Known as being a force blocking, he struggled with injuries in camp before finally getting healthy and helping the Patriots ground game early in the season.

The 6-foot-6, 270-pound tight end had the size of an offensive tackle towering over the tackles standing next to him on the offensive line. Brady started 175 of the 197 games he appeared in over his 13-year career.

The Patriots were Brady's third NFL club. He also played for the New York Jets (1995-98), Jacksonville Jaguars (1999-2006) and New England Patriots (2007).

In addition the team announced the signings of linebacker Tedy Bruschi, wide receiver Kelley Washington and long snapper Lonie Paxton.

Bruschi, 34, returns for his 13th season. Originally selected by the Patriots in the third round (86th overall) in the 1996 NFL Draft, Bruschi pioneered the move from defensive end to linebacker in the Patriots defensive scheme. The former Arizona defensive lineman has played inside linebacker for the Patriots since the team switched to the 3-4 scheme.

Paxton, 29, returns as the team's long snapper. It is a position he's held since being signed as an unrestricted free agent out of Sacramento State in 2000. Paxton reportedly signed a one-year deal to return to the Patriots rather than join another team.

"He is so emotionally entrenched in the Boston community and the Patriots organization that it would have taken a contract of epic proportions from a team that has a chance to compete in the postseason every year for Lonie leave at this time," Paxton's agent Paul Sheehy told the Boston Globe. "Ultimately, Lonie is exactly where he wanted to be when this process started."

Washington, 28, signed a deal with the Patriots in 2007 after leaving the Cincinnati Bengals after a disappointing first four seasons. The Bengals selected Washington in the third round (65th overall) in the 2003 NFL Draft.

Washington was a special teams ace for New England, downing punts and kicks deep in opponent's territory. His prowess on special teams earned him an active roster spot over Patriots 2006 second round pick Chad Jackson who has also participated on special teams.

The addition of Washington brings the Patriots receiver roster back to 4 (Washington, Wes Welker, C.J. Jones and Jackson). The team has four free agents: Randy Moss, Donte Stallworth, Jabar Gaffney and Troy Brown. Stallworth is expected to sign elsewhere, Gaffney will draw some attention in free agency and Moss is expected to be the biggest off-season target of a number of teams.

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