UPDATE, FRIDAY, 5 p.m.: Patriots make it official

A familiar face is coming back to Gillette Stadium.

Tight end Benjamin Watson, who was in Foxboro on Thursday to visit with his former team, intends to sign with the New England Patriots.

The 38-year-old tight end retired shortly after last season, but clearly he's had a change of heart.

Watson spent the first six seasons of his NFL career with the Patriots after they selected him in the first round of the 2004 NFL Draft. He tallied 167 receptions for 2,102 yards and 20 touchdowns with the Patriots. Watson played for the Cleveland Browns, Baltimore Ravens and New Orleans Saints after leaving New England. He spent the 2018 campaign with the Saints.

The Patriots still need to add depth at tight end following the offseason departures of Rob Gronkowski (retirement) and Dwayne Allen (released). Watson is a solid choice given what's available right now. He tallied 35 receptions for 400 yards and two touchdowns last season. He's also a high-character teammate and a very good blocker.


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