Patriots Release Linebacker, Sign Lineman

Antonio Appleby

FOXBORO -- The New England Patriots announced a pair of transactions on Tuesday. Rookie linebacker Antonio Appleby was released, and rookie offensive lineman Rich Ohrnberger's signing (first reported by Scout.com) was made official.

The New England Patriots announced the release of linebacker Antonio Appleby today. The Virginia product was signed by the team as an undrafted rookie free agent on April 30th 2009. In addition the team announced the signing of offensive lineman Rich Ohrnberger. Terms of the deal were not announced. However, scout.com reported that Ohrnberger signed a four-year, $2.2 million deal with a $451,000 signing bonus.

Appleby was considered a long shot to make the final roster. Though his experience in the Virginia program gave him an edge on other rookies due to similarities with the Patriots' defense, Appleby was caught up in a numbers game. His departure leaves eleven linebackers still on the roster not including Tyrone McKenzie who will miss the season due to injury.

Ohrnberger becomes the first Patriots 2009 Draft pick to officially sign his deal. The fourth round pick (123rd overall), is expected to add depth to the Patriot's oft-injured interior offensive line. The Penn State product built his reputation in college as a workman-like blocker for the Nittany Lions.

The Patriots still have the rest of their draft class to sign while paring back the roster to meet the eighty-man limit for training camp. Training camp begins July 30th, 2009.

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