Safety Gregory visiting Patriots

The Patriots are hosting free-agent safety Steve Gregory on a visit at Gillette Stadium, a source confirms. Gregory is en route to New England today.

The 5-foot-11, 195-pound Gregory has been with the Chargers since entering the league as a rookie free agent out of Syracuse in 2006.

Gregory, 29, has played in 85 games over his career, initially emerging as a speedy special teams presence before working his way into the starting lineup (31 career starts). He started a career-high 13 games last season, but one line of thinking is that he was playing out of position alongside free safety Eric Weddle.

Some believe Gregory is better suited for more of a free safety type of role, which is one of the Patriots' offseason priorities to pair with Patrick Chung. The Patriots had a revolving door at safety last season.

Gregory's ability to play in the slot in sub packages, as well as his special teams background, also figure to be attractive to the Patriots.

In 2010, Gregory was suspended four games for a violation of the league's policy on performance-enhancing substances.

The Broncos and Panthers also have checked in on Gregory.

Gregory's visit to New England was first reported by Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune.