BOSTON (AP) – The New England Patriots signed center Dan Koppen to a five-year extension, the Boston College graduate said Thursday during BC’s game against Virginia Tech.

ESPN, which first reported the deal, said it was worth nearly $20 million with a $7.5 million signing bonus.

“It’s true that I’ve agreed to it,” Koppen told The Associated Press on the Alumni Stadium sideline. “I feel good. It’s something that we’ve worked on. I think both sides are happy with it. I’m ecstatic about it.”

Patriots spokesman Stacey James declined comment, citing the team’s policy. Koppen would not comment on the financial terms of his deal.

Koppen, 27, was selected in the fifth round of the 2003 draft and started 46 consecutive games, including two Super Bowl victories, before hurting his shoulder in the ninth game last season. He has started all five games so far this year.

He would have been eligible for free agency next year.

Koppen got a big hug from fellow BC grad and former Patriot Doug Flutie when he arrived at the Eagles’ game against Virginia Tech. Koppen was introduced to a big cheer during the first quarter.

The Patriots are well under the salary cap after allowing kicker Adam Vinatieri and linebacker Willie McGinest to leave as free agents. The team could not reach an agreement with holdout Deion Branch, the MVP of the 2005 Super Bowl, and traded him to the Seattle Seahawks last month for a first-round draft pick.


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