The Patriots have to cut their roster down to 53 players by Saturday afternoon, and they got a headstart on the process on Friday.
Tight end Daniel Fells was cut by the team early Friday afternoon, according to Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network. Fells spent the 2012 season with the Patriots, catching just four passes for 85 yards but making his biggest impact as a blocker and on special teams.
Fells, 29, began his career with the St. Louis Rams, establishing himself as a viable receiving threat with 41 catches in 2010. He then spent the 2011 season with the Denver Broncos, pulling down 19 passes and three touchdowns before joining the Patriots.
Coming into this season, Fells was expected to take on more of an active role in the Patriots’ offense, especially with Rob Gronkowski set to be out at least for the first few weeks of the season. An undisclosed injury kept him out for part of the preseason, allowing rookie Zach Sudfeld and veteran Michael Hoomanawanui to further establish themselves on the field, which likely had an impact on his release.
Gronk’s return to the field, doing some running and agility drills, earlier this week also may have instilled confidence that he could return sooner than expected and to keep him on the active 53-man roster for the start of the season.
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