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.