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Linebacker picks Pats over Saints

Former Seahawks linebacker Chad Brown has been looking for a chance to go back to the Super Bowl since he played for the Steelers in 1995.

That chance persuaded him to pick the Patriots over the Saints on Friday in accepting a two-year, $4 million contract that will pay him $1.5 million this season. The contract includes another $500,000 in incentives he can make based on playing time and performance.

Brown, 34, was being pursued by four teams since being released by the Seahawks on April 21. On Friday morning, he eliminated the Steelers and Broncos and finally focused on whether to go to New Orleans or New England.

It was a tough decision, said his agent, Peter Schaffer. The Saints made a strong pitch. Saints coach Jim Haslett talked about the leadership and play-making ability Brown would bring to the team. The offers were basically the same.

In the end, Brown picked the Patriots, a team that can exploit a lot of his talents. The 12-year veteran hasn't played in a 3-4 since his Steelers days from 1993-96 and can play inside or outside. He's also a good pass-rusher from the defensive end position on third downs.

Brown has been to three Pro Bowls and was the best free-agent signing in Seahawks history, signing a six-year, $24 million contract in 1997. The Seahawks wanted to cut his pay, but the team and Brown couldn't agree on the right figure so he was released.

Brown joins one of the league's smartest and most talented linebacking corps in New England.

John Clayton is a senior writer for ESPN.com.