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Monday, September 1, 2008
Pats sign O'Neal among other moves


Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Graham
O'Neal
O'Neal

The New England Patriots have announced a slew of roster moves, highlighted by the signing of two-time Pro Bowl CB Deltha O'Neal.

O'Neal was brought in because the Patriots were unsatisfied with their CB play through the preseason. They surprisingly cut one of their biggest offseason acquisitions on Saturday when they decided to not move forward with Fernando Bryant. They also released free-agent CB Jason Webster, another newcomer who was supposed to help them replace Asante Samuel.

O'Neal is a nine-year vet who started only 15 games over the past two seasons for the Cincinnati Bengals. Last year, first-round pick Leon Hall beat him out for a starting role. O'Neal didn't fit into the plans of new defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer because of faded man-to-man coverage skills and was cut this weekend despite being their No. 1 punt returner in camp.

In an Aug. 8 Cincinnati Enquirer article about how O'Neal had lost a step, he discussed his willingness to accept a lesser role for greater team success. Little did he know then ...

"I'm just looking to add depth this year and help out as much as I can," O'Neal said. "I have a positive look at it. I went to two Pro Bowls. I want a Super Bowl ring. I'm not tired of going [to the Pro Bowl], but given my choice I'd rather go to the Super Bowl." 

The Patriots also added OL Mark Levoir and TE Jason Pociask off the waiver wire, released TE Stephen Spach and signed OL Jacob Bender and TE Tyson Devree to their practice squad.

Pociask and Bender were among the last New York Jets cuts. Levoir spent two seasons on the Chicago Bears practice squad before the St. Louis Rams added him to their active roster in November, but didn't play him. The Patriots released Devree, an undrafted rookie, on Saturday.