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Pats re-sign Steve Neal

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FOXBORO, Mass. (March 8, 2005) -- The New England Patriots re-signed guard Steve Neal, keeping one of the key components of their offensive line.

Neal, a two-time NCAA Division I wrestling champion who saw little playing time in 2002 and 2003 due to injuries, went from project to prospect in 2004. He started the final 14 games of the regular season and all three playoff games for the Super Bowl champions.

The 6-foot-4, 305-pound Neal was part of a line that allowed only 26 sacks and cleared the way for Corey Dillon to set a single-season team record of 1,635 yards rushing.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Neal originally signed with the Patriots as an undrafted free agent in 2001, despite playing no football since high school. He was waived by the team and spent time on Philadelphia's practice squad before the Patriots re-signed him.

In 2002, he made the team's 53-man roster, played in a game at Miami and started at right guard the following week against Green Bay. But he injured a shoulder while attempting to recover a fumble and missed the rest of the season.

He re-injured the shoulder before the start of training camp in 2003 and was on injured reserve for the season.

At Cal State-Bakersfield, Neal had a 156-10 career record and won the Dan Hodge Award in 1999 as the nation's top college wrestler.

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Another fine example of Scar's work.

And another example of why any mock of the Patriots' should not have a OL in the first round. They have molded more decent OL out of clay then probably any team.

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