The Patriots worked out free-agent defensive back Michael Hawthorne on Thursday. The 6-foot-3, 204-pound Hawthorne is a six-year NFL veteran, having played for the Saints (2000-2002), Packers (2003-2004) and Rams (2005).
He started the first five games of the 2005 season for the Rams at safety, but was released in October. He hasn’t hooked on with another team.
Hawthorne, who turns 29 on Jan. 26, was originally a sixth-round pick of the Saints in 2000. He’s played in 63 career games and has some flexibility between safety and cornerback, which the Patriots often value.
Hawthorne’s workout could mean a few different things. The Patriots might be looking ahead to next year, thinking Hawthorne would be a nice player to bring to training camp. Or the team might be keeping potential replacements for the playoffs in mind, as the defensive backfield is short on depth at this time.
The team has Asante Samuel, Ellis Hobbs and Hank Poteat at cornerback, with Eugene Wilson, Artrell Hawkins, James Sanders and Michael Stone at safety.