BOSTON (AP) – Two-way Troy is coming back for a 12th season with the New England Patriots.

Receiver-turned-defensive back Troy Brown, whose willingness and ability to play both ways made him the face of the Super Bowl champions’ team-first philosophy, agreed Monday to a one-year contract with the team.

“In this era, it is very unusual for a player to remain with one team for as long as Troy’s career as a Patriot,” coach Bill Belichick said in a statement. “Troy Brown is a special player and person and we are glad to have him back.”

Brown, 33, was released two months ago in a cost-cutting move that saved the Patriots $5 million against the salary cap. But his Gillette Stadium locker remained intact and he reportedly didn’t negotiate with other teams.

Financial terms of the new deal weren’t disclosed.

Once one of the Patriots’ most dependable and productive receivers, Brown fought injuries and age to get playing time last season, remaining inactive four times and catching just one pass in the first six games. Against Pittsburgh on Oct. 31, he had five receptions for 59 yards.

But his biggest splash came on defense, where Belichick plugged him into a depleted secondary starting Nov. 7 against St. Louis. In his first defensive action, Brown had three tackles while breaking up one pass (and taking a pass interference penalty).

He also played on special teams, catching a touchdown pass from Adam Vinatieri on a fake field goal. When Belichick checked to see how he was doing, “He just looked at me matter-of-factly and said, Look, I’m a football player. It’s football season. I’m going to play football. Put me in wherever you want me.’

“And you can’t ask for any more than that,” Belichick said during the season. “There are a lot of guys who have that type of attitude. But, I think that Troy just epitomized it: What do you want me to do? Put me in there. I will do the best I can.”‘

Over the season, Brown had three interceptions and 17 tackles; 17 catches for 184 yards, including a touchdown; and 12 punt returns for an average of 6.9 yards.

In his career, Brown has 475 catches for 5,516 yards and 25 touchdowns – all for the Patriots, who drafted him in 1993 out of Marshall. He made the Pro Bowl in 2001, when he had 101 receptions.

“As a team player, Troy is right at the top of the list,” quarterback Tom Brady said in Jacksonville, Fla., where the Patriots won their third Super Bowl in four years. “There is no other guy who has the respect of his teammates like Troy.”

AP-ES-05-23-05 1838EDT

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