The New England Patriots like the rest of the NFL had to cut down their rosters to 75 men by the 4 p.m. ET deadline on Monday.
In order to get down to the 75-man limit the Patriots have announced the following players have been released.
- S Ross Ventrone
- DL Tim Bulman
- WR Donte Stallworth
- WR Jabar Gaffney
- DE Gerard Warren
Assigned to the PUP List was:
- TE Jake Ballard
- DL Myron Pryor
Assigned to the Reserve Non Football Injury List was:
- OL Markus Zusevics
Placed on the Injured Reserve List and done for the year were:
- S Josh Barrett
- FB Spencer Larsen
- CB Will Allen
Ventrone is used to this as he was on the transaction wire 21 times in 2011 between signings, releases and being added to the practice squad. Ventrone a Pittsburgh PA native played his college football at Villanova. If he clears waivers he could be brought back when an injury occurs.
Bulman, a Milton MA native and Boston College product, was brought in for depth along the defensive line. But with the play of rookies Jake Bequette and Chandler Jones along with the commitment the team made last week in Kyle Love it appears Bulman was part of the numbers game.
Stallworth was a veteran receiver they brought back to be with Tom Brady. He was someone from the past (2007) who knew the offense and having been through several real life situations recently he was there to provide yet another steady, veteran presence. But know it appears it just didn’t work out for Stallworth who was very happy to be back in Foxboro.
Gaffney returned this year along with Stallworth; he had previously spent three years with New England (2006-08). Originally drafted by Houston out of the University of Florida in 2002 he has also played for Denver and Washington in his 10 year NFL career. Gaffney’s release is being labeled as a surprise in the Boston media as he ran with the 1’s most of camp but he did suffer a thigh injury and didn’t play against either the Eagles or the Buccaneers.
Warren, who was entering his 12th NFL season out of the University of Florida, can play both defensive tackle and defensive end. He was originally the first round draft pick of the Cleveland Brown (3rd overall) in the 2001 NFL Draft.
I expect Warren, who has been bothered by an undisclosed injury, will sit by his phone waiting for Bill Belichick to call when the team needs help along the defensive line. The same could also be done with both Stallworth and Gaffney at the receiver spot if they go unclaimed by the rest of the league.
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Ballard was placed on the PUP list as he is still recovering from a torn ACL he suffered in the Super Bowl while playing for the New York Giants. On the PUP he will have to miss the first six games of the season and then the team has until Week 10 to activate him or put him on the IR.
Pryor is also on the PUP list and will follow the same timeline as Ballard. Pryor, out of the University of Kentucky, spent most of 2011 on the injured reserve missing the last 14 games. His current injury involves his shoulder.
Zusevics was a two-year starter for Kirk Ferentz at Iowa starting all 13 games last season at right guard and was named an All-Big Ten honorable mention. He was passed in the draft because he tore his pectoral muscle during the bench press reps at the February NFL Combine and this is the that presumably has keep him from practicing right now.
Barrett was expected to be among the contenders for a starting safety job but with the additions of rookie Tavon Wilson and veteran Stephen Gregory he got pushed down the roster even with his special teams work and then he suffered the season ending calf injury that landed him on the IR.
Larsen appears to play a position the Patriots have no use for. After signing every fullback known to man in the offseason chances are good the Patriots will go into the 2012 opener without a fullback on the roster. He has been nursing a knee injury he suffered earlier in training camp.
Allen was signed as a free agent in March after spending the last 6 seasons with the Miami Dolphins. He was originally a first round pick of the New York Giants in 2002 out of Syracuse University. With the unknown injury he suffered and the play of the other safeties and no special teams contribution this isn’t a real surprise. He is expected to come back next season and compete for a job in 2013.
In addition the Patriots announced that they have claimed WR Kerry Taylor off waivers from the Minnesota Vikings. In 2011 he spent one week on the Patriots practice squad after originally being signed and released by Green Bay after going undrafted out of Arizona State University.
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photo credit: ap photo