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
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
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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