<
>

Stubblefield gives Pats some depth on the line

FOXBORO, Mass. -- Dana Stubblefield, a one-time defensive
player of the year, signed with the New England Patriots on
Wednesday.

In 11 NFL seasons, the 33-year-old defensive tackle has played
for San Francisco, Washington and Oakland, winning a Super Bowl
ring with the 49ers in 1994. He was with the Raiders last season
after a second stint with the 49ers.

The signing is in keeping with coach Bill Belichick's policy of
using veterans on a team that has won two of the last three Super
Bowls. Stubblefield will be used to help fill the void caused when
Ted Washington left as a free agent after last season and to help
break in rookie nose tackle Vince Wilfork, the team's first draft
pick.

He was one of three players who last month was fined three
games' salary for testing positive for the steroid THG last season.
The fine will be based on last season's salary.

Stubblefield has appeared before the grand jury investigating a
nutritional supplements lab -- the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative
-- which has been at the center of a steroids controversy in several
sports.

The 6-foot-2-inch, 290-pound lineman has started 149 NFL games
and amassed 428 career tackles, including 53.5 sacks. He also has
32 pass deflections, two interceptions, nine forced fumbles and two
fumble recoveries.

He was selected to the Pro Bowl following the 1994, 1995 and
1997 seasons, and was named the league's defensive player of the
year following a career-best 15-sack season in 1997.