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Patriots re-sign Moss after record-setting season

BOSTON -- Randy Moss is staying with the New England Patriots.

The defending AFC champions re-signed the record-breaking receiver on Monday to a three-year deal worth $27 million, his agent said. The signing was confirmed by the team shortly after Moss posted a message to fans on his Web site.

"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," quotes him as saying. "I'm ready to get back. We have some unfinished business to take care of."

Moss' agent, Tim DiPiero, said the deal included guarantees of $15 million, including a $12 million signing bonus to the receiver who set an NFL record with 23 touchdown catches and helped the Patriots reach the Super Bowl in his first season with the team.

"Randy was serious about wanting to stay," DiPiero wrote in an e-mail. "Because of Randy's record-breaking year, the interest in him was very high. Randy took less than he could have to rejoin his teammates."

Pairing Moss with NFL MVP Tom Brady, who broke the league record with 50 touchdown passes, the Patriots breezed through the regular season with a perfect 16-0 record. They improved to an unprecedented 18-0 record before blowing a chance at the league's longest unbeaten season with a 17-14 Super Bowl loss to the New York Giants.

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

Moss, 31, has caught 774 passes for 12,193 yards in a 10-year career, and his 124 career receiving touchdowns are fourth in NFL history.

A four-time All-Pro, Moss took a pay cut to get out of Oakland and come to New England last April in exchange for a fourth-round draft pick. In addition to his 23 touchdowns, he caught 98 passes for 1,493 yards and largely avoided the type of turmoil that characterized his previous NFL stops.

During seven years with Minnesota, where he made five Pro Bowls, he was fined $10,000 for pretending to pull down his pants and moon the Green Bay crowd during a Vikings playoff win, and drew criticism for leaving the field with 2 seconds left in a loss to Washington.

He also bumped a traffic control officer with his car in 2002, verbally abused corporate sponsors on a team bus in 2001 and squirted an official with a water bottle in 1999.

In Oakland, he openly campaigned to be traded to a winning team. With the Patriots, he avoided controversy until the playoffs, when a woman sought a restraining order against him, claiming that he committed "battery causing serious injury."

Moss denied the allegation and said the woman was trying to get money from him.

Also Monday, the Patriots signed free agent receiver Sam Aiken.

The 27-year-old has played five seasons with the Buffalo Bills with 19 career receptions for 250 yards and 61 career special teams tackles.

"Competing against Sam many times over the years, we know firsthand what he brings to us," Belichick said.

Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press

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