Pass leaves Patriots to join Texans

Seeking depth and flexibility in the backfield, the
Houston Texans have signed unrestricted free agent running back Patrick Pass, a seven-year veteran who had played his entire career in New England, and who won three Super Bowls with the Patriots.

Contract details of what is believed to be a one-year deal were not immediately available.

Pass, 29, was pursued by a few teams this spring, but was recovering from injuries and wanted to make sure he was healthy again before committing to go to training camp with a club. He faces stiff competition on a Houston depth chart that already includes tailbacks Ahman Green, Ron Dayne and Sam Gado, but his versatility could earn a roster spot.

The former University of Georgia standout is coveted for his ability to play tailback and fullback, as noted by Texans coach Gary Kubiak, and to contribute on special teams.

A seventh-round choice in the 2000 draft, Pass has 128 carries for 526 yards and three touchdowns, and 66 receptions for 570 yards and one touchdown. He has averaged 20.7 yards on 36 kickoff returns.

Pass has also played on every special teams unit during his career, and notched 54 tackles. The kind of utilitarian player New England coach Bill Belichick liked to have around, Pass has appeared in 78 games and started 11 contests.

Senior writer Len Pasquarelli covers the NFL for ESPN.com.