Originally posted on Football Nation  |  Last updated 6/23/12
The New England Patriots bolstered their secondary yesterday by re-signing veteran safety James Ihedigbo.
 
Ihedigbo originally signed with the Pats in August of last year after three seasons with the New York Jets.

The 6-1, 211-pound safety started in all but four games for the Pats last season and was a starter in all three postseason games.

Coach Bill Belichick is known for coveting players with high football IQ’s and since Ihedigbo is already familiar with the defensive system, it’s no surprise he returns for another stint in New England.
 
The Patriots often utilized Ihedigbo in early-down situations due to his size (compared to the rest of New England’s pass defenders he’s a relative giant) and run stopping ability.

He played in 67 percent of the overall defensive snaps in 2011, recording 72 tackles in the regular season and 20 more in the playoffs. Belichick would often take Ihedigbo off the field in passing situations in favor of a defensive back with a greater range.
 
The Patriots’ secondary came under much scrutiny last season as they ranked 31st in passing yards per game. However, the Pats gave up just 21.4 points per game, good enough for 15th in the league. These opposing statistics contributed to the “bend but not break” descriptor used by many analysts throughout the season.
 
Ihedigbo is recovering from offseason shoulder surgery but is expected to return to action in time for the preseason.
 
The UMass product will join Patrick Chung, second-round pick Tavon Wilson and recently acquired free agent Steve Gregory in Belichick’s secondary. Ihedigbo will retain jersey No. 44 for the Patriots. 

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