Mills: 'I'm a smarter player' since last Pats stint

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Mills: 'I'm a smarter player' since last Pats stint

By A. Sherrod Blakely
CSNNE.com Celtics Insider
Follow @sherrodbcsn
FOXBORO The Garrett Mills project is back in New England.

A fourth-round pick of the Patriots in 2006, the Pats re-signed the 6-foot-1, 235-pound tight end over the weekend.

He spent most of his rookie season on the injured reserve.

"My skill-set has hopefully gotten better since I was here last," said Mills, who set an NCAA record in 2005 at Tulsa by amassing 1,235 receiving yards -- the most ever by a tight end. "I'm still a similar-type player, but I'm much more experienced and a smarter player."

Since his first stint with the Pats, he has played for Minnesota (2007-2009), Philadelphia (2010) and Cincinnati (2010).

While those teams certainly have had their share of talented players, Mills remembers all too well how well the Patriots seemed to balance success with superstar talent during his rookie season.

"In this locker room, star power is kind of diffused a little bit," said Mills, who had two receptions for 19 yards with the Eagles last season. "And that's a good thing. That's one thing I appreciate about this organization. Everyone's in it to win. It's definitely a team perspective here."

Philadelphia released him on Dec. 21 and he was claimed off waivers by Cincinnati. The Bengals waived him earlier this month.

A. Sherrod Blakely can be reached at sblakely@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Sherrod on Twitter at http:twitter.comsherrodbcsn

Patriots bolster receiver depth by adding Brown to practice squad

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Patriots bolster receiver depth by adding Brown to practice squad

FOXBORO -- The Patriots have added some receiver depth to their locker room by signing Da'Ron Brown to their practice squad. 

Brown, 25, was a seventh-round pick of the Chiefs in 2015 and spent his rookie season on the Kansas City practice squad. At Northern Illinois, the 6-foot, 199-pounder caught 155 passes in four years, accumulating 2,295 yards and scoring 19 touchdowns. He also rushed for two scores in his career. As a senior in 2014, he caught 68 passes for 1,065 yards. 

With the signing, the Patriots have filled out their practice squad. The team has had an opening on its 10-man unit since the Colts signed away receiver Devin Street for their 53-man roster.

With just four receivers on the Patriots roster, not including special teams ace Matthew Slater, they've loaded up on receiver depth through their practice squad with Brown, Devin Lucien and DeAndrew White.

Brissett, Garoppolo both practicing for Patriots on Tuesday

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Brissett, Garoppolo both practicing for Patriots on Tuesday

FOXBORO -- The Patriots had both of their qurterbacks on the field and suited up for Tuesday's shells-and-sweats practice on the fields behind Gillette Stadium. 

Both Jimmy Garoppolo (shoulder) and Jacoby Brissett (thumb) are dealing with injuries, but both were present for the session, as were the rest of their teammates on the 53-man roster. 

Brissett was spotted in the Patriots locker room before practice with no brace or wrap of any kind on his thumb, but he did have his right thumb taped when out on the field. 

Patriots tight end AJ Derby was the lone player in a black practice jersey, indicating that he has been named practice player of the week. Running low on quarterbacks, Derby may have served as the scout-team quarterback as the Patriots defense prepared for the Texans. He played the position at Iowa and Arkansas before changing positions.

The Patriots have four practices scheduled this week, and the team will release injury reports, as usual, on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.