- Mike Reiss, ESPN Staff Writer
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Free-agent linebacker Dane Fletcher, who led the New England Patriots in special teams tackles last season and was a top backup on defense, is scheduled to visit the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as free agency opens.
Jason La Canfora first tweeted news of Fletcher's visit.
Fletcher joined the Patriots as a rookie free agent in 2010, and first-year Buccaneers general manager Jason Licht was the Patriots' director of pro personnel that year.
Fletcher made the switch from college defensive end to NFL linebacker, and his primary contributions came on special teams in his four-year Patriots tenure. In 2013, he played 18 percent of the defensive snaps during the regular season; when starting linebacker Jerod Mayo was lost to a season-ending pectoral muscle on Oct. 13, he was tapped to lead the dime package.
The Patriots have plans to host Broncos linebacker Wesley Woodyard on a free-agent visit Wednesday. Woodyard would be a top candidate to fill Fletcher's void.
11hBy Jackie MacMullan