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Source: DB Travis Hawkins cut by Patriots

08.26.14 at 1:20 pm ET
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Travis Hawkins

Travis Hawkins

FOXBORO — Defensive back Travis Hawkins will be part of the Patriots cuts on Tuesday, according to a league source.

The 23-year-old Hawkins transferred to Delaware after two seasons at Maryland. The 5-10, 195-pounder, had 66 total tackles, four interceptions and eight passes defensed last season and was named first-team all-conference in 2013. He was signed as a rookie free agent in May by the Patriots.

New England needs to be at the league-mandated limit of 75 players on its active roster by 4 p.m. Tuesday.

Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald was the first to report the transaction.

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Reports: Pats will cut LB Deontae Skinner, place RB Tyler Gaffney on IR

08.26.14 at 1:02 pm ET
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Deontae Skinner

Deontae Skinner

FOXBORO — The cuts keep coming as the Patriots try and get to the league-mandated limit of 75 players on the roster by 4 p.m. Tuesday.

In addition to the news that the team is set to cut wide receiver Derrick Johnson and Wilson Van Hooser, Shalise Manza-Young of the Boston Globe is reporting the Patriots are set to cut linebacker Deontae Skinner. The 6-foot-2, 250-pound rookie out of Mississippi State had 64 tackles (33 solo), one sack and an interception past year in 11 games as a collegian.

And Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald is reporting that running back Tyler Gaffney is heading to injured reserve. Gaffney, 23, was claimed off waivers from the Panthers this summer — the Stanford product was originally drafted by the Panthers in the sixth round of the 2014 draft out of Stanford. He was injured in training camp and was released by the Panthers on July 27. The 6-foot, 220-pounder, had a productive senior season in 2013, starting in all 14 games and finishing with 330 rushing attempts for 1,709 yards and 21 rushing touchdowns.

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Read More: Deontae Skinner, Derrick Johnson, Tyler Gaffney, Wilson Van Hooser

Source: WR Derrick Johnson part of Tuesday cuts for Patriots

08.26.14 at 12:44 pm ET
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FOXBORO — The Patriots will release wide receiver Derrick Johnson on Tuesday, according to a league source.

Johnson, 22, was signed by the Patriots as a rookie agent on May 19 out of Maine. The 5-foot-11, 190-pounder tied for the team lead with 60 receptions for 608 yards and two touchdowns in 2013. He finished his college career with 116 receptions for 1,165 yards and four touchdowns.

The Patriots need to be down to 75 players Tuesday at 4 p.m.

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Patriots set to release WR Wilson Van Hooser

08.26.14 at 12:23 pm ET
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FOXBORO — The Patriots will release wide receiver Wilson Van Hooser on Tuesday, according to a league source.

The 6-foot, 197-pound Van Hooser had 13 catches for 188 yards and two touchdowns last season at Troy. He also returned 15 kicks for 237 yards. The Alabama native played his first three seasons at Tulane, recording 55 receptions for 805 yards and nine touchdowns before graduating.

The Patriots need to have their roster at 75 by Tuesday at 4 p.m.

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Gregg Doyel on D&C: If Wes Welker ‘never plays again, I think that would be fabulous’

08.26.14 at 8:58 am ET
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Gregg Doyel

Gregg Doyel national columnist Gregg Doyel checked in with Dennis & Callahan on Tuesday morning to discuss the NFL concussion issue, specifically related to Broncos receiver Wes Welker. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

Welker suffered his third diagnosed concussion in 10 months when he was drilled in the head during his team’s preseason game against the Texans on Saturday.

“I’m not a big believer in telling adults what they can and can’t do, ideally — ideally — so I don’t think the NFL ought to be telling Welker, so I don’t think that should happen,” Doyel said. “But I do think two things about this. One is, I’m disturbed when coaches talk about, ‘We’ll follow protocol and see what happens next.’ … That’s a human being you’re talking about. Sometimes it really doesn’t matter what the damn protocol says. How about you not play that guy?”

Added Doyel: “The NFL shouldn’t be telling anybody who can and can’t play, but if 32 individual teams, starting with the Broncos, all made the same compassionate choice that, ‘Wes Welker, you can play in the league if you want, but I can’t be the reason you’re playing. I’m not going to pay you a paycheck to go out and get hit in the head again.’ And if all 32 teams — don’t call it collusion, but just if all of them come to the same conclusion that, ‘We like you too much to see you die under our watch,’ and he never plays again, I think that would be fabulous.”

Doyel said he does not have faith in the teams’ medical staffs.

“Historically, there have been issues with team doctors. Historically. Not every one of them, obviously. But enough of them,” he said. “All it takes is a couple. Look, if one cockroach walks across your plate of food, you don’t want to eat that food. It didn’t take a lot of cockroaches, it just took one. Well, there’s been a handful of doctors over the years — and a big handful — that have played players because their team needed them, and cleared them because their team needed them. There’s only so much faith I can put in a guy when he’s talking about an asset. And Wes Welker is an asset.

“And Wes Welker thinks he can play and wants to play — this is hypothetical — but Wes Welker thinks he can play and wants to play, is convinced he ought to play, the guy makes X number of dollars in the salary cap, it’s too late to get a replacement, ‘OK, looks like the protocol’s been followed, go back and get back on the field.’

“At some point — again, we’re talking pie in the sky here, I am, but so are you to assume that, well, if they clear him, then obviously he’s OK. Says who?”

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Read More: austin collie, Concussions, Gregg Doyel, Wes Welker

5 most important Patriots not named Tom Brady

08.26.14 at 12:00 am ET
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There’€™s no need to debate who is the most important member of the Patriots. Quarterback Tom Brady has been the single most integral part of New England’€™s football success on a week-in, week-out basis for the last decade-plus. But who makes up the rest of the nucleus? With the 2014 regular season looming, here are the five most important Patriots not named Brady — in no particular order.

Wide receiver Julian Edelman — Edelman has emerged as Brady’€™s go-to target of choice over the last year-plus. The former college quarterback topped the 100-catch mark last season, becoming just the third pass-catcher of the Brady era to come away with at least 100 catches in a season (Troy Brown and Wes Welker are the other two.) Over the course of the summer, he displayed an almost creepy level of chemistry with the quarterback. In two preseason games, Edelman has showed that regardless of what happens with Rob Gronkowski‘€™s health in 2014, he will be one of the fundamental elements of the New England passing game. In two preseason games Brady targeted Edelman 10 times, and the receiver caught all 10 passes.

Tight end Rob Gronkowski — Gronkowski is the difference-maker, the sort of offensive option who can help New England get to its ultimately goal. The only question is his health — the big tight end played in his first 46 straight games in the NFL, but since his forearm snapped blocking on an extra point against the Colts in 2012, he’€™s only played in nine of a possible 26 games. It’€™s important to note that the Patriots looked like they learned to survive without him down the stretch and into the postseason last year. According to Football Outsiders, the Patriots averaged 32 points per game and 5.94 yards per play with Gronkowski in the lineup from Weeks 7-14. Without Gronkowski (from Week 15 through the end of their postseason run), New England averaged 30.8 points per game and 5.82 yards per play. It was a drop-off, but not the dramatic dip that some may have anticipated. At the same time, the real struggles in other areas (red zone presence, blocking) have created an environment where it’€™s simply not sustainable to think the Patriots could hope to win a Super Bowl without him.

Cornerback Darrelle Revis — Revis has only been a part of the New England roster for a few months, but he already figures to be a vital part of any success the Patriots have in 2014. Even for a future Hall of Famer it can be an occasionally dicey proposition joining a new team, but he’€™s managed to fit in seamlessly. As a new face, he has managed to walk a fine line between being deferential to the established veterans who were already on the roster, but at the same time he’€™s managed to carve out a leadership position of his own. He was the guy who led a group of defensive backs out to Arizona for offseason workouts with his trainer, and the younger defensive backs (including Logan Ryan and Duron Harmon) have confessed to picking his brain on more than one occasion. He hasn’t played a ton in the preseason (we had him at 36 snaps — with penalties — through the first three games of the preseason, and has one pass completed in his direction in that time), but it certainly appears he’€™s not hampered by any of the knee woes that managed to keep him sidelined for almost the entire duration of the 2012 season.
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Read More: Darrelle Revis, Devin McCourty, Julian Edelman, Rob Gronkowski

Devin McCourty wins Ron Burton Community Service Award

08.25.14 at 9:36 pm ET
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Devin McCourty was named the winner New England Patriots Ron Burton Community Service Award in a ceremony Monday night at Gillette Stadium.

The three-time defensive captain was the 12th winner of the award, which is named in honor of the late Ron Burton, the first player drafted by the team and a community leader whose widespread charitable work was a model for how a Patriots player can make an impact off the field.

McCourty is entering his fifth NFL season after joining the Patriots in 2010 as a first-round draft pick out of Rutgers. McCourty earned Pro Bowl honors as a rookie to become the fourth Patriots player to be selected as a rookie. McCourty has played both cornerback and safety during his time with the Patriots. He earned Associated Press All-Pro Second Team honors at safety in 2013 and Second Team All-Pro honors as a rookie in 2010 when he played cornerback, joining Pro Football Hall of Famers Rod Woodson and Ronnie Lott as the only NFL players to earn All-Pro honors at both safety and cornerback.

Patriots owner and CEO Robert Kraft presented McCourty with the award. The defensive back has been one of the team’€™s most active community participants. In four years as a Patriot, he has regularly participated in the team’€™s community Tuesday events (the players’€™ only scheduled off day each week). In addition, McCourty also has teamed with his twin brother, Jason, who plays for Tennessee to start his own foundation to help fight Sickle Cell, a disease that has affected members of his own family.

McCourty joins a select group of Patriots players to receive the award: Past recipients are Joe Andruzzi (2003), Troy Brown (2004), Matt Light (2005), Jarvis Green (2006), Ty Warren (2007), Larry Izzo (2008), Kevin Faulk (2009), Vince Wilfork (2010), Jerod Mayo (2011), Zoltan Mesko (2012) and Matthew Slater (2013).

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