According to Jeff Howe, the New England Patriots have signed core special teamer and linebacker Niko Koutouvides, who was released on the last day of August during the 53-man roster crackdown.
The Patriots released linebacker and special-teamer Mike Rivera, who was a somewhat surprising addition to the 53-man roster over Koutouvides. It’s good to see the 31-year-old back on the Pats, and it was speculated by some after his release that the veteran LB would re-join the team later on.
The 6’2″, 238 pounder appeared in eight games for the Patriots last season, with one of those games being a start for him. He ended up recording 17 tackles in total and was re-signed by the team in mid-March. Nearly half of those tackles came on special teams, where the majority of his value stems; he will be one of the better special teamers on the squad.
The Patriots released Koutouvides during 53-man cuts last season, and he worked out with the Miami Dolphins before getting re-signed by the Pats’ 53-man roster in November to help shore up the depth at the linebacker position for the team.
A journeyman for the most part of his career since being drafted out of Purdue in 2004, Koutouvides has played for the Seattle Seahawks and Denver Broncos in the past. It’s good to see him back with the Patriots, as he is a veteran who gives it his all and is, in my opinion, a clear upgrade over Rivera on special teams.
You can follow Joe Soriano on Twitter @SorianoJoe.