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Zach Sudfeld can’t wait to learn from and play alongside Rob Gronkowski

09.02.13 at 11:59 am ET
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FOXBORO — Now the fun really begins for Zach Sudfeld.

The man with the continuous smile during OTAs, mini-camp, training camp and preseason is ready to prove he has earned his spot as the top receiving tight end target behind Rob Gronkowski.

As a matter of fact, Sudfeld got the chance on Sunday to work with Gronk for the first time on the practice field as Gronkowski returned. That experience continued Monday as the team worked out in shorts and shells.

The rookie from Nevada was beaming about what he’s learned so far from the New England icon.

“It was great, it was great,” Sudfeld said. “It was very cool to see him out there. This is the first time I’ve been able to practice and have him out there. It was a great experience.

“He’s been very good to me. We get along very well. He’s a great guy. He’s a great guy. He’s been teaching me a lot and I’m excited to have him out there.”

Sudfeld had eight catches for 101 yards and a touchdown in four preseason games – and those numbers were without Gronk playing alongside him.

“It was one of those thing and go out there and practice every day and you don’t really know what’s going on [with his status] but to see him out there, it was great,” Sudfeld said. “It’s one of those things where you try to take to take it one-day-at-a-time throughout the entire preseason and training camp and you really had no control over their final decisions but I’m just so excited to be a part of this team.

“It’s great to have him just in the stuff he is able to teach me and help me with because he’s been very successful in this league. For him to be able to show me the ropes a little bit is really good. Really everything. All the intricacies of being a tight end. He’s very talented and one of the best out there so I’m just trying to learn as much as I can.”

Sudfeld insists he never took for granted his roster spot despite showing right away that he belongs.

“I was very excited obviously,” Sudfeld said of earning his spot on the 53-man roster. “It’s just kind of a childhood dream to make a team in the NFL. At this point, I’m just trying to look forward because there’s a lot of work that has to be done starting here this week with practice, with Buffalo coming up. It was great to make the team but now the real work begins.”

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Rob Gronkowski practices again, newcomers on hand for first practice

09.02.13 at 10:50 am ET
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FOXBORO — For a second straight day, Rob Gronkowski was in attendance at Patriots practice as the team worked out in shorts and shells on the upper grass fields outside Gillette Stadium Monday morning.

Gronkowski was running warm-up drills with the offensive unit at the start of practice but was not spotted catching any passes.

Gronkowski was activated off PUP on Saturday and is eligible to play Sunday against Buffalo. But the more significant – and realistic – impact is that the tight end won’t be forced to sit out the first six games.

The only player not spotted at practice Monday was offensive lineman Will Svitek, who was spotted with a knee brace in the locker room on Sunday afternoon.

Linebacker Chris White, offensive linemen Chris Barker and Braxston Cave and defensive lineman A.J. Francis were all in attendance for the first time since being signed off waived and added to the 53-man active roster.

There was an additional (unnamed) offensive lineman wearing No. 71, who could either be an add to the practice squad or an addition to the 53-man roster if, for some reason, Svitek is placed on injured reserve.

The Patriots will have Tuesday off before returning to practice on Wednesday in preparation for the season opener this Sunday in Buffalo.

Read More: Gronk, New England Patriots, nfl, Rob Gronkowski

Patriots re-sign Marquice Cole, release OL Josh Kline

09.02.13 at 10:02 am ET
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FOXBORO — Less than 24 hours after releasing him to make room on the 53-man roster for four players signed off waivers, the Patriots re-signed cornerback Marquice Cole Monday morning.

To make room, the team waived undrafted rookie offensive guard Josh Kline.

Cole, 29, is a veteran of four NFL seasons with the Jets (2009-11) and Patriots (2012). The 5-foot-10, 195-pounder joined New England as a free agent on March 19, 2012, and was re-signed by the team on March 20, 2013. He played in 14 games with one start last season and finished with 12 total tackles, one interception, three passes defensed and seven special teams tackles. He played in both postseason games and added four defensive tackles and four special teams tackle.

Cole originally entered the NFL as a rookie free agent with the Raiders out of Northwestern in 2007. He spent the end of the 2007 season on the Titans’ practice squad and part of the 2008 season on the practice squad of the Saints. Cole began the 2009 season on the practice squad of the Jets before joining the 53-man roster early in September. Cole has played in 51 NFL games with two starts and has registered 26 defensive tackles, three interceptions with one returned for a touchdown and 43 special teams tackles.

Kline, 23, joined the Patriots as a rookie free agent out of Kent State on May 3. The 6-foot-3, 295-pounder saw action at right guard, right tackle and on special teams during his college career at Kent State. He earned second-team All-MAC honors as a senior in 2012.

Read More: Josh Kline, Marquice Cole, New England Patriots,

Report: Patriots sign Quentin Sims back to practice squad

09.01.13 at 10:00 pm ET
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FOXBORO — The Patriots may have cut Tim Tebow but they are getting his number one weapon back on the team.

Receiver Quentin Sims was claimed back by the Patriots on Sunday and signed to the practice squad, according to Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald.

Sims caught four passes in the preseason for 86 yards, including a 52-yard TD from Tebow in the preseason finale last Thursday night. Sims ran an up-and-out and made a leaping grab on the ball that appeared to be too high. Sims kept his feet and raced to the end zone for a touchdown.

On the last offensive play of the game, Tebow threw a nine-yard fade to Sims in the end zone for his second touchdown of the night.

Sims impressed late in camp with a string of solid practices and his performance Thursday seemed to convince the staff of his potential.

Sims becomes the sixth player signed to the practice squad, with two open spots still available. The Patriots officially announced five signings earlier in the day Sunday, including Marcus Forston and Jeff Tarpinian.

Read More: cuts, New England Patriots, nfl, Quentin Sims

Time to ‘amp’ it up: Veterans, rookies talk differences between preseason and regular season

09.01.13 at 7:00 pm ET
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FOXBORO — When it comes to life in the NFL, you don’€™t know what you don’€™t know.

Provided the roster stays the same over the next week (based on past seasons, it’€™s important to note that’€™s a bit of a longshot), the Patriots will head into Sunday’€™s regular-season opener against the Bills with all seven members of their draft class and a whopping eight undrafted free agents as part of their 53-man roster. While not all 15 will be part of the game day roster, that’€™s an extraordinary number of first-year players who will likely get their ‘€œWelcome to the NFL’€ moment Sunday in upstate New York.

So what should they expect? Veteran defensive lineman Tommy Kelly says that good rookies understand the increased sense of urgency that comes with the regular season on multiple levels — including the wallet.

‘€œUntil you get out there and experience it for yourself, you really won’€™t know,’€ Kelly said. ‘€œWords can’€™t describe it. It’€™s going to be a lot more intense than what you think. The speed you think it can reach, it’€™s probably going to go a little bit faster.

‘€œNow, everything counts. People are getting paid now, so when those game checks start coming in, they amp it up a little more,’€ he added with a smile. ‘€œI think we have a good group of rookies, especially up front. I think they’€™ll be all right, especially with Joe [Vellano] and Mike [Buchanan]. I think they don’€™t seem too wide-eyed. They’€™re real calm and cool out there. They’€™ll be all right.’€

Kelly recalled his first NFL game as a rookie with the 2004 Raiders.

‘€œReally, my first game rookie year — I remember just how intense and how fast it was. It was an eye opener,’€ he said. ‘€œBut I caught up quickly. It wasn’€™t that hard of an adjustment for me. But the speed of the game was a real adjustment for me.

‘€œBut I came in with a whole bunch of veterans and so they set the tone. When you come in the game with people like Warren Sapp and Ted Washington and Bobby Hamilton, no one will care what you think anyway. You just fall in line. I had good veterans who kind of baptized me into the NFL.’€

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Read More: Kenbrell Thompkins, Steve Gregory, Tommy Kelly, Zach Sudfeld

Patriots confirm release of Leon Washington, Marquice Cole, ink 5 to practice squad, set roster at 53

09.01.13 at 6:50 pm ET
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FOXBORO — Late Sunday afternoon the Patriots confirmed the release of veterans Leon Washington and Marquice Cole to set their roster at 53 players in preparation for their season opener next Sunday in Buffalo.

In a flurry of moves typical in the week before the opener, the Patriots claimed four players off waivers. They added third-year LB Chris White off waivers from Detroit, and three rookies, OL Braxston Cave (Cleveland), G Chris Barker (Miami) and DT A.J. Francis (Miami).

Any players signed off waivers from another team must be added to the 53-man active roster and are not immediately eligible for the practice squad. Those four signings required the Patriots to cut two more players Sunday to get to the limit. New England entered Sunday with 51 players on the active roster.

In addition, the Patriots re-signed LB Ja’€™Gared Davis, S Kanorris Davis, DB Justin Green, DL Marcus Forston and LB Jeff Tarpinian to the practice squad. All five of those players were released by the team Saturday.

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Read More: Leon Washington, Marquice Cole, New England Patriots, nfl

Patriots waive goodbye to Leon Washington

09.01.13 at 3:37 pm ET
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FOXBORO — The Leon Washington era in New England is over before it even really started. Washington was not spotted at practice on Sunday and he was made expendable as the Patriots chose to keep Brandon Bolden, LeGarrette Blount, Shane Vereen and Stevan Ridley.

The 31-year-old Washington was projected as the Patriots’ top returner in the punt game. That responsibility is likely to fall to Julian Edelman.

As for kickoff returns, Matthew Slater, Devin McCourty, Shane Vereen, Josh Boyce and Edelman figure to vie for the job.

The Patriots signed Washington on March 14 as a special teams returner and potential third-down back. This preseason, in four games, Washington had five carries for 22 yards and three catches 35 yards in the preseason. On special teams, Washington returned 10 punts for 75 yards, including a 43-yarder. On kickoffs, he returned three kicks for 66 yards and a 22.0 average.


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