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Colvin, Harrison sign with New England

FOXBORO, Mass., March 12 (UPI) -- The New England Patriots have signed Roosevelt Colvin, who has recorded 10 1/2 sacks each of the last two years with the Chicago Bears.

Financial terms were not disclosed.

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Colvin, 25, is a productive hybrid defensive end-linebacker who appears to be a perfect fit for New England Coach Bill Belichick, who shuffles from a 4-3 front to a 3-4.

"Coach Belichick and his staff have developed a scheme that I feel is a better fit for me," said Colvin, who played strongside linebacker for the Bears.

The addition of Colvin will enable Belichick and defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel to disguise their schemes more efficiently. Willie McGinest used to fill that role for New England, but had just 5 1/2 sacks last season.

"I just felt like I could bring something to the table that they don't have," Colvin said. "But they have pretty good talent on defense. Don't get me wrong, I'm not the answer to any questions that they have, I'm just a piece of the puzzle."

Colvin underwent offseason shoulder surgery, but that did not stop the Patriots, Detroit Lions, Arizona Cardinals, New York Giants, and Houston Texans from meeting with him.

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"The process was extensive and tiresome, and my thoughts in the last couple of days had been circling so many different ways," Colvin said. "I just waited for my gut instinct, and felt like the Patriots were the best place for me."

The 6-3, 245-pounder became the first player in club history to record back-to-back double-digit sack seasons since defensive end Richard Dent had 12 sacks in 1990 and 10 1/2 in 1991.

Last season, Colvin ranked fifth on the team with 72 tackles, including eight for losses, three forced fumbles, and one fumble recovery to go with his 10 1/2 sacks.

The fourth-round pick out of Purdue in 1999 became a starter midway through the 2000 season.

They also signed unrestricted free agent safety Rodney Harrison, late of San Diego.

Terms were not disclosed.

Harrison, 30, joins the Patriots after nine seasons with the Chargers, and has compiled 759 tackles, 21 1/2 sacks, and 26 interceptions.

His signing gives the Patriots flexibility with free agent safety Tebucky Jones, who has been given the franchise tag. New England can now remove the tag from Jones and make him a free agent.

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Harrison was named to the Pro Bowl in 1998 and 2001, and was named the Chargers' Defensive Player of the Year four times. He was plagued by a groin injury last season that forced him to miss two games, but was second on the team with 88 tackles.

The hard-hitting Harrison has been fined more than $200,000 for a variety of infractions in his career. He was suspended for one game without pay, a penalty of over $100,000, for a helmet-to-helmet hit on Oakland's Jerry Rice.

The Patriots also have announced the signing of cornerback Tyrone Poole, who had been released by the Denver Broncos.

Poole, 30, may compete with Leonard Myers and Ben Kelly for the right cornerback job or play as a nickel back with New England. He served as a backup with the Broncos last season.

The 5-8, 188-pound Poole was a three-year starter for both Carolina (1995-97) and Indianapolis (1998-2000) before joining the Broncos.

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