Amid a report that veteran defensive end Andre Carter intends to sign with the Patriots, neither coach Bill Belichick nor defensive coordinator Matt Patricia were interested in confirming the news on Tuesday or even discussing a player who spent the 2011 season in Foxborough.
Carter was a force when he was with the Patriots two seasons ago, when he had 10 sacks and two forced fumbles in 14 regular-season games. He chose not to re-sign with the Patriots for 2012, opting for Oakland, where he appeared in 12 games. Carter has not played for anyone this season.
His addition could help a defense that played on Sunday without its three best players. Two of them – defensive tackle Vince Wilfork and linebacker Jerod Mayo, both captains – are lost for the season. Cornerback Aqib Talib has a hip injury, and it’s not known how many games he might miss.
Not only would Carter help rush the passer – with Rob Ninkovich and Chandler Jones as established ends, he would likely fill in for Michael Buchanan in the Patriots’ nickel package – but his leadership presence is also appealing.
ESPN reported Carter intends to sign with the Patriots.
“We don’t have anything to announce right now,” Belichick said, when asked about it. “If we do, when we do, then we’ll announce it.”
Carter would give Patricia another strong pass disruptor, much like he was two seasons ago. But the defensive coordinator had no interest going down Memory Lane.
“Obviously, 2011 was 2011. We’re really kind of concentrating on 2013, and moving forward to the Dolphins,” Patricia said, mentioning Sunday’s opponent. “Not really sure anything along those lines, unfortunately that’s a question about the past, so we’re going to try to focus on the present and the future.”
When pressed about how Carter might fit into the Patriots’ defensive plans, perhaps as soon as Sunday, Patricia again wouldn’t offer much.
“I think we’re going to concentrate on everybody that we know is currently here, and work forward from there, so I’m going to move on from that one,” Patricia said.
Carter is a 34-year-old who has played 13 seasons in the NFL, and has 78.5 career sacks. He’s spent time with four teams: San Francisco (2001-05), Washington (2006-10), New England (2011), and Oakland (2012).