Third-year safety Tony George and rookie punter Dan Hadenfeldt were waived by the Patriots Sunday, lowering the number of players on the roster to 86.
The depth at safety was bolstered in the off-season with the re-signing of Matt Stevens, the position switch of Antwan Harris from cornerback and the drafting of Hakim Akbar of Washington. George, who was moved from free safety to strong safety behind Lawyer Milloy last season, was unable to work himself into the defensive rotation regularly in camp. Harris, the second-year man out of Virginia, has worked with the second unit at strong safety, and Akbar has been getting more work of late.
George, a standout on special teams for the last two seasons, has never really developed as the Patriots hoped when they made him a third-round draft pick in 1999. In two seasons, he played 31 games with one start and posted 25 tackles. He also forced two fumbles and recovered one. On special teams he had 25 tackles, including a team-high 16 in 2000.
The fate of George may have been sealed in New England's 14-0 win over the New York Giants in the preseason opener last Friday. He had a chance to intercept a fourth-quarter Jesse Palmer pass intended for Jonathan Carter, but he bobbled the ball and dropped it. While George did not post any tackles on defense or special teams, Harris had a 5-yard sack and a special teams assists, and Akbar had four defensive tackles and two special teams stops.
Hadenfeldt, who was re-signed just prior to the Giants game, did not make the most of his second chance. While he put three of his four punts inside the 20-yard line, he averaged just 32.5 yards per punt and shanked one for a lowly 11-yard boot.
New England had to waive or release a second player as a result of the decision to let George go. He was carrying a roster exemption because he played in NFL Europe over the summer. Hadenfeldt was waived last week, but the team was able to bring him back because New England got a roster exemption as a result of Terry Glenn having left camp.
Team holds walk-through session
The Sunday afternoon practice was not one that required much physical work from the team. The players had jerseys and baseball caps or no hats for the walk-through, which was held in drizzling, rainy conditions.
The focus of the work was on kickoffs, goal line situations and two-minute drills. Almost everything was done at either half- or three-quarters speed. While the workout was not especially exciting, there was an encouraging sight: running back Robert Edwards took some handoffs during the goal line work. They were the first handoffs he has received with the full team on the practice field. Offensive lineman Adrian Klemm also took reps in some of the drills, but there was no contact in the work.
Also back on the field was linebacker Andy Katzenmoyer. He did not take part in any of the practice drills, instead spending the time working out on the sidelines jogging. Also working on the side were defensive end Willie McGinest (back) and rookie tight end Jabari Holloway (hamstring). Glenn was not on the practice field.