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Monday, August 29, 2011

James Sanders Is The Latest Surprise Cut By The Patriots, Who Will Be Next?

With the Patriots under the gun to cut their roster down from 90 to 80 by 4 p.m. tomorrow and to the final 53-man roster by this Saturday, it makes sense that more well-known veterans will be released.

Today's first batch of cuts was filled with guys you don't know (undrafted free agent defensive end Clay Nurse), players that had no chance to make the roster (kicker Chris Koepplin), guys whose time here had run out (cornerback Jonathan Wilhite) and one notable surprise (safety James Sanders).

From Mike Reiss of
"It was a shock. It wasn't one of the things I was expecting to hear today. It didn't cross my mind," Sanders said Monday afternoon.

Sanders wasn't given a reason for the team's decision, and said he was disappointed in not having a chance to compete for a roster spot. He injured his left hamstring while doing conditioning work before training camp began, and had only been on the field for four practices before playing in the preseason for the first time Saturday night. He started and played 19 snaps against the Lions.

"I wish I would have had a fair shot this camp. I came in hurt and obviously that weighed into it," Sanders said. "But stuff happens and you have to move on."

He was due to make $2.8 million this season and likely was stuck behind Brandon Meriweather and Patrick Chung.

A fourth-round draft pick out of Fresno State in 2005, Sanders has been a solid pro that has seen a significant amount of playing time despite not usually being the projected starter out of the preseason. In 94 games with New England, he started 57 times (including the playoffs).

Also released were long-snapper Matt Katula, 2011 seventh-round draft choice Malcolm Williams (mostly a special teams linebacker), tight end Garrett Mills, guard Mark Wetterer, defensive lineman Kade Weston and wide receivers Darnell Jenkins and Tyree Barnes.

They'll have to release one more player before tomorrow's deadline (right now they have 81 players). Finally, the Patriots signed safety Ross Ventrone (on last season's practice squad not to be confused with his brother Ray, also a practice squad hero) and wide receiver Tiquan Underwood.

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