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Denson, Johnson cut by Patriots

The return of guard Damon Denson was short-lived, as New England cut the third-year offensive lineman to make room for free agent running back Jerry Ellison, who was signed to the 53-man roster.

Denson was among the final cuts in the preseason, but the team re-signed him after starting linemen Heath Irwin and Zefross Moss suffered injuries in the season-opening win over the Jets. With Irwin back and Moss close to healthy, Denson was again the odd man out.

Injuries to running backs Harold Shaw and Kevin Faulk left New England thin in the backfield. Ellison, who spent several years with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, was brought in for a one-day tryout with the team during training camp. Besides serving as a backup running back, Ellison also appeared in every game between 1995 and 1997 on special teams for Tampa Bay.

The Patriots special teams units are thin right now, as Tebucky Jones, Bernard Russ, Chris Floyd and Faulk are all questionable for the Cleveland. Another special teams regular, Harold Shaw, is doubtful for Sunday's game.

New England also made a change on their practice squad. Defensive lineman Garrett Johnson, who created interest during training camp, was cut to make room for Marquis Brigham, who spent a couple weeks with New England in the preseason. Brigham will provide more backfield and special teams insurance.

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