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Chargers vs. Dolphins

Miami Dolphins running back Lex Hilliard goes over the top for a touchdown in the first quarter against the San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, California on Sunday, October 2, 2011. The Chargers defeated the Dolphins, 26-16. (Joe Rimkus. Jr./Miami Herald/MCT)

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. - The New England Patriots have signed running back Lex Hilliard and released offensive lineman Matt Tennant.

The 235-pound Hilliard was released last Friday by the Minnesota Vikings after signing as a free agent in March. He played all 48 games the past three seasons for Miami, rushing 39 times for 130 yards and two touchdowns and catching 26 passes for 210 yards and two touchdowns. The former University of Montana player from Kalispell, Mont., was drafted in the sixth round by the Dolphins.

The Patriots claimed the 300-pound Tennant off waivers last Saturday from the New Orleans Saints, where he played 28 games the past two seasons. They drafted him in the fifth round in 2010 out of Boston College.

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