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Tight end Garrett Mills returns to New England while Patriots cut a pair

08.21.11 at 5:19 pm ET

The Patriots announced Sunday they have signed tight end Garrett Mills and released safety Bret Lockett and rookie free agent offensive lineman Zach Roth.

Mills, 6-foot-1, 235 pounds, originally entered the NFL as a fourth-round draft pick of the Patriots in the 2006 NFL Draft out of Tulsa and spent the majority of his rookie season with New England on the injured reserve list. Mills is a veteran of five NFL seasons and has played with New England (2006), Minnesota (2007-09), Philadelphia (2010) and Cincinnati (2010). In all, he’€™s played in 16 NFL games with three starts and has nine receptions for 110 yards.

Mills was also at the center of an interesting squabble between Patriots coach Bill Belichick and former Vikings coach Brad Childress. Days before the start of the 2007 season, Childress claimed Belichick called to ask him not to claim tight end Mills off waivers so New England could get him through to the practice squad. Childress even claimed that Belichick offered to avoid picking up a player the Vikings cut as a reward. Childress declined, and the Patriots responded by claiming linebacker David Herron. Neither player had any sort of long-term impact with their new club, but it was enough to stir some bad blood.

‘€œ[Belichick] didn’€™t really care for that,’€ Childress told Minnesota’€™s WCCO-AM after everything went down. ‘€œHe was trying to leverage, but you always find out who is honest and straightforward.’€

Lockett, 6-foot-1, 220 pounds, was claimed off waivers and awarded to the Patriots from the Cleveland Browns on Sept. 7, 2009. He originally joined Cleveland as a rookie free on May 4, 2009 out of UCLA. As a rookie with the Patriots in 2009, he played in 10 games and finished with two tackles on defense and five special teams tackles. He missed the 2010 season after being placed on injured reserve with a chest injury.

Roth, 6-foot-6, 319 pounds, was signed by the Patriots as a rookie free agent from Texas Christian University on August 13. Last season, Roth started 10 games at right tackle and helped anchor an offensive line that enabled TCU to set a single-season school record for touchdowns (73), points scored (541) and total offense (6,199 yards).

Read More: Bill Belichick, brad childress, Bret Lockett, David Herron



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