The Patriots signed punter Danny Baugher to the practice squad on Tuesday. Baugher graduated from the University of Arizona last spring and signed with the Bengals as an undrafted rookie free agent in May. Cincinnati released him at the end of July.
He said it was strange not playing football when the season began.
"It's weird. It's the first time where I haven't been playing in eight years," said Baugher. "It was an unusual experience for me and kind of hard at times, but I just had to fight through it. I've just been working out and trying to keep my mind mentally focused as if I was playing a game every Sunday and just being ready to go if anybody needs me."
Baugher said he thought he was doing well at Cincy and attributed his release to a full roster.
"As far as I was told, I did alright punting and everything," he said. "Basically it came down to a numbers thing where they had a draft pick trying and special teams guys are always the first to get cut, so I became a numbers casualty."
He stayed focused on football by spending the last two months working with the University of Arizona's kicking specialists.
"I was actually an undergrad coach down there," said Baugher. "I was helping out with the kickers and the punters and what not. Every now and then I would steal a couple snaps with the long snappers, just to stay in shape with that."
He said he worked out with the Patriots during training camp in August and paid a visit to the Eagles as well.
Then, on Monday, he got a call from the Patriots. Baugher was excited to join the team because the Patriots starting punter, Josh Miller, also attended Arizona.
"I was a little surprised, you know. Josh is a great punter," said Baugher. "I'm on the practice squad, so I'm doing whatever they tell me to do."
Miller currently ranks sixth among NFL punters. This is his third year with the Pats and his 11th NFL season. At 36, Miller is the second-oldest Patriots player on the roster.
Baugher said he'd never met Miller before arriving to Gillette Stadium, but is excited to work with him.
"It'll be a great learning experience for me," said Baugher. "I hear he's quite a character, so I'm sure it'll be good for me."
Head Coach Bill Belichick was asked today if Baugher is here to relieve Miller of some practice duties.
"I don't think the practice load is that demanding," said Belichick noting that practice only takes up two and a half days per week. "But you always want to look at players at different positions and we went into training camp with only one punter, and a little bit of our thinking in training camp was after we saw some of these young kids during the exhibition season and see how they did then I think we'll take a look at one on practice squad and we looked at a number of them and felt like this was a good time (for) guys (to) come in see how they punt this time of year. Just kind of keeping the depth we can for our team, look at players we think might have an opportunity at some point to give us depth."
The Patriots held practice outside again today in shorts/sweats, shoulder pads and helmets. The media had access to stretching, a kick return drill and a set of group drills. Defensive Coordinator Dean Pees worked with the defensive backs in the drill nearest to the press. The only players not in attendance wereRuss Hochstein and Nick Kaczur. … Filming of "The Game Plan," starring The Rock, has begun at Gillette Stadium. Actors, extras and crew people are everywhere. Cheers for "The Rebels" were heard coming from the stadium during practice.