Neal, Brown in fold
The Patriots finalized the re-signings of receiver Troy Brown and offensive guard Stephen Neal on Friday.
Brown returns for his 14th season in 2006, giving him a chance to play his entire career with one team. The 34-year-old, one of the teamís most popular players, is coming off a 39-catch season in which he was one of the Patriotsí offensive captains. He was an eighth-round draft choice of the Patriots in 1993 and has appeared in 175 career games. He currently ranks second on the teamís all-time receptions list, with 514, and is in striking distance of Stanley Morganís franchise record (534).
Brown adds depth to a receiving corps that has been thinned by the free-agent departures of David Givens (Titans), Andreí Davis (Bills) and Tim Dwight (Jets). He had generated interest from the New York Jets.
Meanwhile, Neal (6-4, 305) returns to New England after visiting with the Vikings, Bills, Dolphins and Texans. The 29-year-old developed from a practice squad player to starter since joining the Patriots in 2001. He's been the team's primary starter at right guard the last two seasons.