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Another look at Patten signing

02.25.10 at 5:16 pm ET
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INDIANAPOLIS — Taking a second look at the David Patten signing, you can’t deny that he and quarterback Tom Brady have a chemistry together.

It’s debatable how much Patten still has left in the tank, but the quarterback, who nicknamed Patten “Chief” when the two were together from 2001-04, gets one of his all-time favorite targets back in Foxborough. Only three receivers have more touchdown receptions from Brady (Patten trails only Randy Moss, Benjamin Watson and Daniel Graham). Small wonder that when Patten was a free agent in 2007, Brady called Patten in hopes of luring him back to New England before Patten signed with New Orleans.

Patten’s numbers have dipped the last few seasons — mainly due to injury — but according to his agent Mark Lepselter, the 35-yeard-old is excited about the opportunity to prove himself all over again in New England.

“I’m sure that in 2001 that there were people who said, ‘Who the heck is David Patten?’ I think Dave relished those type of questions then, and he relishes people thinking the same way now,” Lepselter said Thursday. “He’s always been the underdog – this is a great opportunity for him to prove himself again.”

With New England, he flourished alongside Brady, playing in 54 regular-season games for the Patriots with 44 starts from 2001-04, and also played in six postseason games with three starts. In New England, he had 165 catches for 2,513 yards and 16 touchdowns in the regular season.

Patten left New England following the 2004 season, spending two injury-plagued seasons with Washington (2005-06) before a quick stop in New Orleans (2007-08). Patten went to training camp with Cleveland in 2009 but was waived prior to the start of the regular season and spent the year out of football.

Lepselter said Patten really enjoyed his time in New Orleans, and grew close with several of the Saints players and coaches, including quarterback Drew Brees and coach Sean Payton, who still stay in touch with the receiver. But the chance to finish his career with Brady was too great.

“He wanted to get one more shot, take one more shot to play. I think he can come in and contribute,” Lepselter said. “There was obviously a relationship in the past with both parties, and the deal makes a lot of sense for both parties, when taken at face value.”

And then, there’s the whole locker room aspect to the signing. Patten remains one of the nicest people in the NFL, and if he does have anything left, he could serve as an excellent mentor to young receivers like Brandon Tate and Julian Edelman. In addition, Patten was someone who helped craft the locker room culture that helped develop three Super Bowl titles in four seasons. If he can help restore even a little bit of that feeling that appeared to have gone missing at times last season, then the Patriots’ investment is worth it.

“David is truly one of the great guys out there,” Lepselter said. “It’s a great situation for him.”

Read More: David Patten, Mark Lepselter, Tom Brady,
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