Koutouvides back in fold

The Patriots have retained one of their core special teams players, re-signing veteran linebacker Niko Koutouvides to a one-year extension through the 2012 season.

Koutouvides' contract includes a base salary of $825,000. He was set to become an unrestricted free agent at 4 p.m. on Tuesday.

Following a preseason stint in 2011, Koutouvides re-joined the team on Nov. 9, playing in the final eight games of the regular season. He finished tied for fifth on the team with nine special teams tackles, according to coaches' film review.