Patriots keep Cassel as Brady's backup Print
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Saturday, 30 August 2008 13:11
NFL Headline News

 FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) -The New England Patriots released quarterback Matt Gutierrez on Saturday and kept Matt Cassel as Tom Brady's backup for a fourth season.
Cassel's roster spot appeared to be in jeopardy after he failed to lead the Patriots to a touchdown in 17 series during their winless exhibition season. Gutierrez, who signed as a rookie free agent before last season, played better.
Brady, nursing a right foot injury, did not play in the four exhibition losses but said he'll be ready for the season opener against the Kansas City Chiefs on Sept. 7. His current streak of 127 consecutive starts is the third longest in NFL history.
The Patriots got down to the 53-player regular season roster limit by the 4 p.m. deadline.
Other noteworthy cuts were veterans Fernando Bryant, their starting cornerback for most of the exhibition season, and Victor Hobson, a linebacker who spent all five of his NFL seasons with the New York Jets.
They also released running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis, tight end Tyson DeVree, center Mike Flynn, tackle Stephen Sene, guard John Welbourn, defensive linemen Santonio Thomas and Titus Adams, linebacker Vince Redd and defensive backs Mark Dillard, Mike Richardson and Antwain Spann.
Linebacker Bo Ruud and defensive lineman Kenny Smith were put on the injured reserve list, meaning they can't play this season. And tackle Oliver Ross went on the non-football injury reserve list.
The Patriots kept five running backs, although one of them, Kevin Faulk was suspended by the NFL on Saturday for the season opener for violating the league's substance abuse policy. He does not count against the 53-player limit until he is activated.
That left Laurence Maroney, Sammy Morris, LaMont Jordan and Heath Evans as running backs for that game.
The Patriots had signed Bryant, who spent the last four years with Detroit and the previous five with Jacksonville, after star cornerback Asante Samuel signed with Philadelphia as a free agent.
With Bryant gone, they're left with four cornerbacks: starter Ellis Hobbs, Lewis Sanders and rookie draft picks Terrence Wheatley and Jonathan Wilhite.
Cassel made the team despite his poor preseason. The seventh-round draft choice out of Southern California in 2005 completed 19 of 34 passes for 165 yards, no touchdowns and one interception. He threw only 33 passes in four years of college and 39 in three with the Patriots.
Gutierrez was 29-for-45 for 362 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions in exhibition action. Kevin O'Connell, a third-round draft pick this year, went 15-for-32 for 140 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions.
The Patriots signed Hobson as a free agent on April 7. In 76 games with the Jets, he had 58 starts, including 14 of the 16 in which he played last season.
 

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