OL Thomas signed; practice squad shuffled

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- The Patriots have announced the signing of guard Donald Thomas, filling the roster spot created when the team released tackle Thomas Welch on Monday. In addition, the Patriots announced that tight end Garrett Mills and linebacker Jeff Tarpinian have been re-signed to the practice squad, while linebacker Aaron Lavarias has been released from the practice squad.

Thomas, who played at Connecticut, was a sixth-round draft choice of the Dolphins in 2008, and started 12 games in 2009 for Miami. He spent the final six games of last season with the Lions before being released on Sept. 3. While primarily a guard, Thomas will provide depth on the interior of the offensive line, which will be without starting center Dan Koppen for the foreseeable future.

Mills, a fourth-round draft choice of the Patriots in 2006, returned to the team during the preseason before being released during final cuts. Tarpinian was released by the Patriots on Monday after initially making the 53-man roster. Lavarias was an undrafted free agent who spent the preseason in New England, as well as the first week of the regular season on the practice squad.