Evans Clinchy
Thursday May 3rd, 2012

Wide receiver Jabar Gaffney is returning to the New England Patriots, according to Mike Reiss of ESPN Boston.

Gaffney was released yesterday by the Washington Redskins -- a surprising development considering he was the Skins' leading receiver in 2011 with 68 catches for 947 yards and five touchdowns. The 31-year-old wideout quickly signed with the Patriots, the team that revived his career in 2006.

Gaffney is a longtime favorite receiver of Pats quarterback Tom Brady.

"He's just one of those guys that, from the day we got him here, he was just so reliable and dependable because he knew what to do and he did it well," Brady said. "Jab could do everything well. I think that's his versatility, he's got good size, he's got long arms, he's got good speed, he's got good quickness, he plays every position, he's smart." Gaffney joins a large contingent of receivers already in Bill Belichick's arsenal -- Wes Welker, Brandon Lloyd, Deion Branch, Donte' Stallworth, Anthony Gonzalez, Chad Ochocinco are among the big-name pass-catchers on the Pats' roster heading into the 2012 season.

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