Patriots Sign Sixth-round Pick Richardson

Foxboro, Mass. -- The New England Patriots signed their first 2007 Draft pick when they reached an agreement with Notre Dame cornerback Mike Richardson Wednesday.

According to Adam Caplan, senior NFL writer for, a source indicated Richardson signed a four-year deal with New England. League rule changes this season prevent rookies selected after the first round from signing deals longer than four years. The 5-foot-11, 190-pound defender was selected by New England in the sixth round (202nd overall) in the 2007 NFL Draft.

Caplan confirmed that the base salaries of Richardson's contract are: $285,000 (2007); $370,000 (2008); $460,000 (2009) and $550,000 (2010).

Penn State runningback Tony Hunt, top, is tackled by Notre Dame defender Mike Richardson in the first quarter of college football action in South Bend, Ind., Saturday, Sept. 9, 2006. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

Richardson played for current Irish head coach Charlie Weis who is a former New England Patriots coordinator. After participating in the team's May rookie minicamp Richardson told Patriots Insider that he hadn't worked out for New England scouts in South Bend, and was surprised when he received a call from the organization telling him that there was a possibility that they might draft him. "It was pretty exciting," he said.

Although Richardson's former head coach has New England connections, Weis apparently didn't share much insight from any of his conversations with Belichick about the Irish defender. On Draft day, Richardson said he didn't speak much with his former coach.

"I really didn't talk to coach much about what happened in the whole process," Richardson said. "I was just sitting at home waiting and hoping for the best."

Now that's he's signed for the next four seasons, it's up to the former two-sport athlete from Georgia to show he belongs. Richardson will compete with 11 other defensive backs for what will likely be 6 roster spots in September.

A lead defender for the Fighting Irish, Richardson started 30 of the 49 games he played. He recorded 170 tackles (119 solos), 3 sacks, 4 forced fumbles 15 passes defended and eight interceptions.

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