The New England Patriots signed long snapper James Dearth today. Terms of the contract were not announced.
In addition, the Patriots released veteran linebacker Marques Murrell and rookie free agent wideout Jeremy Ross.
Dearth, 6-foot-4, 265 pounds, is a veteran of eleven NFL seasons with the Browns (1999), Jets (2001-2009) and Chargers (2011). Originally a sixth round draft pick by the Browns in 1999 out of Tarleton State, Dearth has played in 146 career NFL games with one start. He has been used primarily as a long snapper but caught three passes for 10 yards with one touchdown in 2001 with the Jets.
Last season, Dearth signed with Washington but was waived prior to the start of the regular season. He signed with San Diego in early September but was injured in practice and spent the season on injured reserve.
Murrell, 6-2, 250 pounds, originally signed with the Patriots on in 2010 and played in the season-opener versus Cincinnati before being released on Sept. 13.
He was re-signed by the Patriots on in January and was inactive for the postseason game against the Jets.
Ross, 5-11, 213 pounds, was signed by the Patriots as a rookie free agent in July. He finished his collegiate career second on Cals all-time punt return average list with an average of 15.2 yards per punt (31 returns, 471 yards and one touchdown). He totaled 2,287 all-purpose yards (201 rushing, 764 receiving, 471 punt return, 851 kick return), with an average of 53.2 yards per contest.
Tom Brady, Jimmy Garoppolo and Jacoby Brissett are starting to make a habit of this.
After clinching the AFC East title during the regular season, they made sure to grab a picture together that they could throw on their respective social-media pages. They did the same again on Sunday night.
Sporting their brand new AFC Championship hats -- and Brissett, who didn't dress for the game, in a championship t-shirt -- the trio posed in front of their lockers like the three best friends that anyone could have.
When Brady posted the shot on his Instagram page Monday morning, he captioned it with a speech from the movie "The Hangover," calling Garoppolo and Brissett part of his "wolf pack."
After LeGarrette Blount plunged into the end zone from one yard away, giving the Patriots a 27-9 lead over the Steelers in the third quarter of the AFC title game, the Gillette Stadium crowd partied like it was 1989.
While fans celebrated, the massive in-stadium video board showed Rob Gronkowski, Donnie Wahlberg and Jon Bon Jovi all sharing a booth while Bon Jovi's hit from 30 years ago, "Livin' on a Prayer," blasted over the public-address system. The crowd belted out the words while the man who made them famous orchestrated from his perch.
Of course it caught Bill Belichick's attention.
"I was definitely aware of it," said Belichick, who calls Bon Jovi a friend. "Jon, I've heard him play that song dozens of times. But he had the place rocking . . . Maybe a little more than we did. Pretty impressive."
Belichick and Bon Jovi met while Belichick was coaching with the Giants, where he spent 12 years as an assistant. Bon Jovi's style of music wasn't exactly Giants head coach Bill Parcells' cup of tea, but for some of the younger coaches on the Giants staff, one of the perks of the job was that there was a rock star from Jersey to wanted to hang around the team.
Thus, a friendship was born. Once last night's game ended with Belichick making his record seventh Super Bowl as a head coach, Bon Jovi came down from his box to celebrate with his pal on the field.
"He's a great friend," Belichick said. "He's been a great friend for a long time, all the way back into the 80s and we shared a lot of great moments together, including the 1990 Super Bowl in Tampa, when he was in the locker room after the game, taking crazy pictures and stuff like that. Great memories from there. It was great to have Jon here. Always appreciate his great support. It was quite a moment. One you usually don't see at a professional football game so it was special."