FOXBORO -- The New England Patriots made a few more roster moves to the bottom end of their roster on Monday. Fullback Kyle Eckel was re-signed to the 53-man active roster, and tight end Stephen Spach was released to make space. In addition, safety Mark Dillard was re-signed to the team's practice squad while punter Tom Malone was released.
The moves were an indication that the Patriots are working to solidify the backup roles of some of the key positions. Eckel was with the Patriots in 2005 before being claimed by the Dolphins. He spent time on the reserve/military list before returning to football in 2007 for Miami. After being released in September 2007, Eckel was resigned by New England participating in 12 games for New England last year. He was released in August as part of the roster cutdown moves.
Spach was with the Patriots since 2007, when he joined the team midseason. He was released by the Patriots on September 1, 2008 and was re-signed on September 4, when it became apparent Ben Watson wouldn't be healthy enough to return to action. Spach played in both games for the Patriots this season.
Dillard spent time with the Patriots through training camp, signing on as an undrafted rookie free agent on May 2, 2008. He was a victim of the final roster cuts on August 30, 2008, but was re-signed to the practice squad the next day. The Louisiana State product was released by the Patriots on September 10, 2008 and was out of football until being resigned yesterday.
Malone was originally signed by the San Francisco 49ers as an undrafted rookie free agent out of USC. The 49ers released him in June 2006. He was signed to the Patriots practice squad in December 2006. He spent time with New England in their 2007 training camp before being released on August 22, 2007.
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