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Patriots add depth to backfield, sign veteran Taylor

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Running back Fred Taylor signed with the New England Patriots on Friday after spending 11 seasons with Jacksonville.

Taylor was cut by the Jaguars in a salary-cup move. He joins a Patriots team seeking depth at running back, with Laurence Maroney having been bothered by injuries for most of his career.

"I have tremendous respect for Fred Taylor, both as a person and as a player whose production is outstanding," Patriots coach Bill Belichick said in a statement. "I look forward to working with Fred as he joins the rest of our running back group."

Taylor visited with the Buffalo Bills and the Patriots this week before signing a deal with New England. Terms were not disclosed.

"It was pretty much a no-brainer," Taylor said on a conference call Friday from his South Florida home.

"Who wouldn't want to play in New England? They've been the most successful organization over the last decade or so."

The 33-year-old Taylor ran for more than 11,000 yards with the Jaguars and is 16th on the career rushing list. He has averaged 4.64 yards per carry, fifth among backs with more than 10,000 yards rushing.

Taylor made his first Pro Bowl in 2007. Last season, he averaged a career-low 3.9 yards per carry behind an injury-riddled offensive line, as Maurice Jones-Drew took over more of the load.

Taylor said Belichick did not discuss what his specific role would be with the Patriots or how many carries he might expect to get.

"No one has said anything," Taylor said. "What I can tell you is that I anticipate just coming in and competing and trying to make the guys at my position better and them trying to make me better."

Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press

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