Trevor Bates was a vital asset to the New England Patriots practice squad last season, so much so that the team gave him a raise in salary in December.
It appears the Westbrook native and former University of Maine football star will be sticking with the Super Bowl champions for a little while longer.
The Patriots announced on Tuesday that Bates is one of nine players the team has signed to a future contract.
A future contract ensures that Bates is signed for at least the upcoming season.
The linebacker has been a member of New England’s practice squad since November, and traveled to Houston with the team for Super Bowl LI.
Bates was drafted in the seventh round by the Indianapolis Colts in April 2016 before being released in the team’s final roster cutdowns.
He spent some time on their practice squad and played in a Week 5 game against the Chicago Bears, recording 22 special-teams snaps.
The Colts subsequently released Bates, who was picked up by the Patriots soon after.
He never appeared in a game for the Patriots, but he performed well in practices to the point where Bates’ salary was bumped to $18,000 per week from the practice-squad minimum of $6,900.
In 46 career games at UMaine, Bates tallied 207 tackles, 19 sacks, five forced fumbles (two recoveries) and three interceptions. He returned a fumble and an interception for a touchdown.
He was an All-Colonial Athletic Association first-team selection in 2015 after making 57 tackles, including a team-best 7½ sacks. He ranked third in the league with 14½ tackles for a loss of yardage.
Bates, who was born in Portland, played football and baseball at Westbrook High School. He played multiple positions for coach Jeff Guerette, including on the line despite weighing only 215 points.
He wound up accepting a $1,000 scholarship offer initially — the same route taken to the NFL by former Black Bears and Kansas City Chiefs defensive tackle Mike DeVito — before earning a full scholarship.