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Staying power

Pioli, Patriots agree on extension

Amid rumors he was shaping offers with his contract expiring, Patriots vice president of player personnel Scott Pioli has agreed to a contract extension with the club.

Terms of the deal were not released.

''We are proud to announce this extension," chairman and CEO Robert Kraft said. ''Scott has done a tremendous job managing our personnel department and overseeing the draft for us. He has successfully evaluated, recruited, and acquired talented players who are also quality individuals that represent our family well, both on the field and in the community."

Pioli has been with New England since 2000, joining the team when the Krafts hired Bill Belichick as head coach.

Considered Belichick's righthand man, Pioli has been credited with coordinating the team's scouting department, recognized as among the league's best at evaluating collegiate players, but also players in the NFL.

The team's depth is paramount to its success. The Patriots were the first division champion to use 42 starters in 2003. The Patriots won their second Super Bowl in three seasons in '03. New England used 40 starters a year ago in repeating as champions.

The Patriots have won 34 games in their back-to-back Super Bowl runs, the most in a two-year span in league history.

A two-time choice for NFL Executive of the Year (and at 39, the youngest to win the award), Pioli, 40, has garnered interest from other NFL teams. Cleveland asked for permission to interview Pioli after last year's Super Bowl, but was denied.

Seattle also sought -- and received -- permission to discuss a position with him in the offseason, but Pioli said he intended to fulfill his contract with New England, which was set to expire after next year's draft.

''There is mutual respect between . . . the Kraft family and myself," said Pioli. ''We have shared a great deal of success and I am happy to have an extended agreement with them."

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