Patriots sign LB Banta-Cain

The New England Patriots re-signed unrestricted free agent

linebacker Tully Banta-Cain on Friday, the first day of free

agency, keeping their top pass rusher in the fold for another three

years.

“I had some calls from my agent last night that we were going

to try to get it done,” Banta-Cain said in a conference call with

reporters. “I was hopeful it would get done and it did. I’m happy

about that.”

Banta-Cain played for the Patriots’ last two Super Bowl teams in

2004 and ’05, before going to San Francisco as an unrestricted free

agent in 2007. After two seasons, the 49ers released him and he

re-signed with New England.

Last year, he had a career-high 10 sacks and 60 total tackles

while starting 10 games.

“I was honored to have the opportunity to come back,” he said.

“Not many people get the opportunity to come back to where they

started. I really wanted to make the most of the season. Despite

the way things turned out for the team, I was able to have a

significant role.

“It was a great experience to come back. Now I’m really looking

forward to my future here.”