Randy's Back and Everyone's Happy

When news that Randy Moss re-signed with the Patriots first reached the public, there was a collective sigh of relief among Patriots fans. After a week of rumors, before and after the signing, it's all smiles for the team and the top ranked free agent of the year.

After a weekend filled with one rumor after another, the Patriots finally re-signed Randy Moss to a three-year deal worth $27 million. Moss reportedly turned down more money from the Eagles to stay in New England and catch passes from Tom Brady.

Moss posted a message to the fans of New England, therealrandymoss.com, thanking them for their support.

"I want to take time out to thank all of the fans for their support and for wishing me well in my return to New England," Moss wrote. "I'm ready to get back. We have some unfinished business to take care of."

In 2007, Moss caught 98 passes for 1,493 yards and 23 touchdowns. His 23 touchdown receptions set an all-time single-season NFL record, surpassing Jerry Rice's old mark of 22, set in 1987. Moss's 1,493 receiving yards set a Patriots single-season franchise record, while his 23 total touchdowns also set a team mark, topping Curtis Martin's 17 touchdowns in 1996.

He caught four touchdown passes in a game against Buffalo on Nov. 18, 2007, setting a Patriots single-game record. Among the honors and awards Moss received in 2007 were selections to the Pro Bowl, the Associated Press All-Pro First Team, the Pro Football Weekly/PFWA All-NFL Team and the All-Pro teams of the Sporting News, USA Today, ESPN and Sports Illustrated. He was named the AFC Offensive Player of the Month for November 2007 and was named the AFC Offensive Player of the Week twice during the 2007 season.

Bill Belichick is happy that Moss is returning to the Patriots.

"What Randy did for our team last year was outstanding," Belichick said. "He is one of our most consistent, competitive and team-oriented players and it is undoubtedly a relationship we are excited to continue."

Moss will reunite with Wes Welker and Jabar Gaffney to once again give Tom Brady a formidable group of receivers next season.


--The Patriots signed unrestricted free agent WR Sam Aiken. Aiken. It's a two-year deal that could reach $2 million if Aiken hits all his incentives. Aiken played for the Bills from 2003-2007 and is known as one of the league's better special teams players. Aiken isn't likely to help out much at receiver seeing that he only has 19 receptions during his five-year NFL career.

--New England-area stroke survivors were invited to the visitors' locker room at Gillette Stadium to meet Patriots linebacker Tedy Bruschi, himself a survivor of a stroke. Bruschi joined the group as they posed for photos, which will be used by the American Stroke Association as part of what they're calling "a large-scale stroke awareness campaign." Bruschi and his new friends also filmed a public service announcement to help this important cause.

--ESPN.com ranked the best free agent signings of all-time and the Patriots Mike Vrabel placed ninth. Vrabel came to New England from Pittsburgh, signing a three-year deal worth $5.29 million. He turned out to be a bargain for the Patriots. In seven seasons with the team, Vrabel has recorded 44 sacks and scored 10 touchdowns as a part-time tight end. There wasn't much hype when Vrabel signed with the Pats but he's been an important part of New England's success this decade.

Former Patriots Curtis Martin and Adam Vinatieri ranked third and fifth, respectively. Reggie White's signing with the Packers in 1993 took the top spot, with Deion Sanders' stints with the 49ers and Cowboys in the mid-90's ranking second.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "They can find Black Beauty and he doesn't have to be in a field of white mice." -- Raiders defensive coordinator Rob Ryan on Bill Belichick and Scott Pioli's ability to find the right players in the draft to fit their system.

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