The following players have been released:
A New Receiver
The Oakland Raiders traded receiver Doug Gabriel to the Patriots for an undisclosed draft pick today. The fourth-year veteran has made 7 starts in 42 appearances for the Raiders. He has 71 receptions for 1,122 yards with five touchdowns over his career. Gabriel's 552 yard per season average (551, 554) the past two seasons bests the Patriot's current No. 1 Reche Caldwell (310, 352: 331 avg.) and No. 2 Troy Brown's (184, 466: 325 avg. ) numbers.
Gabriel's presence boosts depth at a position depleted by the losses of David Givens (free agency), Chad Jackson (injury) and Deion Branch (holdout).
Two on I/R
The Patriots placed a linebacker Barry Gardner and safety Tebucky Jones on IR, ending their season. Both players were new to New England and were expected to become special teams contributors. Gardner saw time with the first string defense in the middle when Tedy Bruschi was sidelined by a wrist injury. Jones joined the Patriots earlier in the off-season (March). The team maintained a line of communication with Jones after his first tour with the team. Cut by the Dolphins after the 2005 season, Jones opted for New England over other suitors. At training camp, Jones said that he felt comfortable [in Foxboro] and looked forward to the season.
Klecko Era Ends
After three seasons of experimenting with where to put him, the Patriots have decided there isn't a fit and parted ways with longtime project Dan Klecko. Klecko, the son of former Jets' lineman Joe Klecko, saw time at linebacker, defensive lineman, nose tackle, and fullback on goal line situations. The amiable Klecko was seen regularly joking with teammates at training camp this summer. Klecko said that he wanted to have fun, and there was nothing he could do about the roster except work hard. Even with the hard work and his versatility, the 5-foot-11, 275-pound Temple product still became a roster casualty.
Another 2006 Draft Pick Waived
Offensive lineman Dan Stevenson was one of the nine players released today. The Patriots selected the Notre Dame product in the sixth-round of the 2006 NFL Draft. Stevenson worked mainly with the second string offense during camp. A product of the Charlie Weis system at Notre Dame, Stevenson earned praise from his college coach saying he could be the next Joe Andruzzi for New England. Andruzzi was a little known prospect out of Southern Connecticut State University, who worked hard to become the Patriots starting guard. He signed a free agent deal with the Cleveland Browns in 2005 to become a staple on their line. Stevenson is the second Patriots' 2006 Draft pick to be released. New England released another sixth-round pick linebacker Jeremy Mincey on Friday.
Florida Connections Disconnected
Three Florida players were released today. Third-year veteran Guss Scott, second-year receiver Kelvin Kight and rookie defensive back Vernell Brown.
Guss Scott, who battled back from season ending knee injuries the past two seasons, was caught in a numbers game at safety. Scott played in just five games managing 25 tackles during his brief tenure with the team.
Kight joined New England in the middle of training camp, quickly becoming familiar with Tom Brady's style when assumed the reps for the absent Chad Jackson and Deion Branch. Doug Gabriel who the team acquired in a trade with the Oakland Raiders took Kight's spot.
Undrafted rookie free agent Brown saw time on special teams returning kicks, as well as on defense and as a receiver on the scout team. His athletic ability allowed him to work at all three positions in college. Florida football coach Urban Meyer gave Brown the label of the "Face of Florida Football" at his senior season. (related)
Young Guns Dismissed But May Return
Rookie linebacker Corey Mays, second-year players Santonio Thomas and Antwain Spann and third-year lineman Billy Yates were also cut today. The four players each have eligibility for the team's practice squad and could be resigned Sunday.
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