Foxboro, Mass. Doug Flutie, who won a Heisman Trophy at Boston College and played for the Patriots during two well-traveled decades in professional football, has signed a one-year deal to return to New England.
"I'm very excited about being back in New England, being home and being a part of a great football team," the 42-year-old Massachusetts native said in a conference call Friday night. "This is a fresh start."
During 11 NFL seasons, eight in Canada and one in the USFL, Flutie has been a fan favorite wherever he went. But even though he maintained his trademark mobility even as he aged, the 5-foot-10 quarterback frequently was pigeonholed as a backup to taller, more traditional passers.
The Patriots have one of those in Tom Brady, a two-time Super Bowl MVP. Also on the New England roster are Rohan Davey, Chris Redman and this year's seventh-round draft choice, Matt Cassel.
"I'm excited about working with Tom. Hopefully I can be a sounding board for him -- be there and help him out -- and be a security blanket for the team," Flutie said. "The role that I'm fulfilling is that of a veteran quarterback. My role may be in the classroom, that may be my biggest contribution; it may not be on the field. If I am on the field, I feel like they have confidence in me."
Flutie has played for eight teams in three professional leagues, but he is best remembered for one play in college: a desperation pass that beat Miami and helped him win the 1984 Heisman Trophy. He still is idolized on the Chestnut Hill campus, and the Heisman is the centerpiece of the school's new hall of fame.
After college, he went to the New Jersey Generals of the USFL and made his NFL debut with the Chicago Bears in 1986. He was with New England for parts of three season before going to the CFL, where he won the Most Outstanding Player six times and won three Grey Cup championships.
He returned to the NFL for three seasons with the Buffalo Bills and then went to San Diego, where he started 16 games in his first year and six in his next three. Last season, he was 20-of-38 for 276 yards and a touchdown with the Chargers.