End Of The Line For Banta-Cain?

Tully Banta-Cain

Before the ink was dry on the new CBA agreement, the New England Patriots told Tully Banta-Cain that they planned on releasing him. A recent abdominal injury put Banta-Cain's availability for the start of the season on hold.

OLB Tully Banta-Cain underwent a procedure on his abdomen that could sideline him 4-5 weeks, Scout.com's Aaron Wilson recently reported.   Now he's learned that the team plans on releasing him this week.

Banta-Cain suffered the injury at the end of last season, but the Patriots' team doctors at the time didn't believe he needed surgery. However, he reportedly tweaked the injury during a recent workout and underwent surgery Friday.  The ninth-year veteran hasn't been able to have direct contact with team doctors since the lockout began in March.

Banta-Cain had 5.0 sacks last season primarily as a situational pass rusher.

The procedure puts his status for the regular-season opener in some doubt. Banta-Cain is scheduled to earn $2.3 million this season, with a salary cap number of more than $4 million.  According to Wilson, Banta-Cain could surface elsewhere once he's recovered from the injury.

Insider's Take:
The loss of Banta-Cain  puts a strain on the team's ability to get to the passer.  He was second on the team with 5.0 sacks behind only Mike Wright's 5.5 last season.  In 2009, Banta-Cain had a carer-best 10-sack season, he alos forced a pair of fumbles and defended 2 passes.  Without Banta-Cain on th eroster, the team will look to players like Rob Ninkovich and Jermaine Cunningham to step up on defense.  Ninkovich is in his third season with New England, finishing with 4 sacks in 2010.  Cunningham, a member of the Patriots' 2010 rookie class, saw limited action yet managed to accumulate 34 tackles (27 solo), a sack and a pair of forced fumbles.

Material from The Sports Xchange was used in this report.

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