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Former Patriots tight end Matthew Mulligan signs with Bears

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Matthew Mulligan has signed a one-year deal to play for the Chicago Bears. Steven Senne / AP photo

The Chicago Bears have announced that they have signed former Patriots tight end Matthew Mulligan, the muscle bound blocking tight end who played prominently while Rob Gronkowski was injured.

Mulligan agreed to a one-year deal, according to the team.

The former Maine high school and college star played 23 percent of the team's offensive snaps in 2013, according to ProFootballFocus.com. He only caught two passes for 16 yards and a touchdown.

The Patriots currently have three tight ends on the roster: Gronkowski, Michael Hoomanawanui, and D.J. Williams.

It's more than likley the team will select another tight end in the NFL draft. The Patriots carried four tight ends on their roster for most of the 2013 season because of Gronkowski's availability. But have gone into camp at times with five. Neither Hoomanawanui or Williams can back up Gronkowski at the Y tight end position, which is meant for tight ends that are larger and exceptional blockers.

Zuri Berry can be reached at zberry@boston.com. Follow him on Twitter @zuriberry and on Google+.

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