FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) -Nine-time Pro Bowl safety John Lynch took a physical with the New England Patriots, who need secondary help after being hit by injuries.
Coach Bill Belichick, who rarely identifies players brought in for visits, said Thursday that he met Wednesday with Lynch and that the former Denver Broncos star was given a physical.
The NFL Network reported later Thursday that the Patriots and Lynch had agreed on a one-year, $1.5 million contract.
The Patriots said they had nothing to announce. A phone call to Lynch's agent, Joby Branion, was not returned.
Speaking late Thursday morning, Belichick said Lynch, who wanted more playing time than he expected to get in Denver, hadn't signed at the time.
``If and when that happens, then we will address it,'' he said, ``but until then I really don't have any other comment on it.''
The Patriots needed help in the secondary after safety-linebacker Tank Williams had a season-ending knee injury in their first exhibition game on Aug. 7, a 16-15 loss to the Baltimore Ravens. Neither of last season's starters, Rodney Harrison and James Sanders, played in that game and both have missed several practices in training camp.
Sanders became a starter last season, his third with the Patriots.
``Whatever moves they plan on making it'll be what's best for the team,'' Sanders said after Thursday's practice. ``He's just a hard, tenacious hitter. He's a big guy and he brings it every time he makes a tackle. So he's a tempo setter.''
Lynch, who spent his first 11 seasons with Tampa Bay, is entering his 16th NFL season and turns 37 on Sept. 25. He made the Pro Bowl in each of his four years with Denver.
Patriots defensive coordinator Dean Pees said Williams, who spent his first four seasons with Tennessee then played for Minnesota last season, had been playing well in camp.
``I hate to lose him. You hate to lose anybody,'' said Pees, a 36-year coaching veteran in high school, college and the NFL. ``But when you've done it for as long as we've all done it, it happens every year. So somebody else has just got to step in and take his place.''
Lynch and the Broncos amicably parted ways after he met with coach Mike Shanahan on July 30.
``He wants to play every down,'' Shanahan said on July 31. ``Heck, I can't blame him. I'm not going to say that he can't.''
But with Marlon McRee playing well, Lynch saw little playing time in nickel and dime packages early in training camp. McRee started all 16 regular-season games at safety for San Diego last season.
After leaving Denver, Lynch said he could sign elsewhere.
``I still have a great passion for the game of football,'' he said at the time. ``I still very much love it in my heart. I still feel like I can compete at a Pro Bowl level, but the situation is going to have to be right. I'm not going to just play for any team or any situation.''
Lynch played every snap in Denver's last three games last season, but earlier he was taken out on passing downs.

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