FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – The New England Patriots made a series of roster moves in anticipation of tomorrow's mandatory NFL cut-down to a 75-man roster.
The Patriots announced that they have re-signed rookies CB Stephon Morris and DL Scott Vallone. Morris was originally signed by the Patriots on May 3, 2013, and released on Aug, 1, 2013. Vallone was originally signed by the Patriots on Aug. 1, 2013 and released on Aug. 19, 2013.
Additionally, the Patriots released first-year WR Kamar Aiken, rookie CB Brandon Jones, nine-year veteran LB Niko Koutouvides, second-year CB LeQuan Lewis and rookie LS Mike Zupancic.
The Patriots also placed rookie DL Cory Grissom and second-year T Markus Zusevics on injured reserve, and placed first-year DL Armond Armstead and rookie WR Mark Harrison on the reserve/non-football injury list.
Morris, 22, played in 49 games with 24 starts during his college career at Penn State. The 5-foot-8, 190-pounder, finished with 148 tackles, one interception and 13 passes defensed.
Vallone, 23, was a four-year starter at defensive tackle for Rutgers. The 6-foot-3, 275-pounder, appeared in two games as a true freshman in 2008 before undergoing season-ending surgery and was redshirted. During his four-years as a starter, Vallone recorded 195 total tackles and 8½ sacks.
Aiken, 24, originally joined the New England practice squad on Nov. 19, 2012. The 6-foot-2, 215-pounder, spent some time on the 53-man roster last year, playing in one game at Jacksonville on Dec. 23. He originally entered the NFL as a rookie free agent with Buffalo out of Central Florida in 2011 and began his rookie season on the Buffalo practice squad before being signed to the 53-man roster in November. Aiken was released by Buffalo after training camp last summer and spent time on the practice squads of both Buffalo and Chicago before joining the New England practice squad.
Jones, 23, played in 13 games with 12 starts as a senior, posting 31 tackles, nine passes defensed and a team-leading five interceptions. The 6-1, 187-pounder was also a standout special teams player during his time at Rutgers.
Koutouvides, 32, is a veteran of nine NFL seasons, including two (2011-2012) with New England. He played in each of the final 14 games of the Patriots' 2012 season and both postseason games. The 6-foot-2, 245-pounder registered eight special teams tackles and one tackle on defense in the regular season and one special teams tackle in the postseason. Koutouvides originally signed with New England on Aug. 14, 2011, but was released when the team trimmed the roster to 53 prior to the start of the season. He returned to the team at midseason and played in 11 games and all three postseason games.
Koutouvides was originally drafted by the Seattle Seahawks in the fourth round (116th overall) of the 2004 NFL Draft out of Purdue. He played four seasons with the Seahawks before signing with the Denver Broncos as an unrestricted free agent on March 3, 2008. He was released by the Broncos after the 2008 season and signed by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers a few weeks later, where he spent the next two seasons. In nine NFL seasons, Koutouvides has played in 125 games with three starts and has 63 total tackles and 118 special teams tackles.
Lewis, 24, was signed by New England on Aug. 12, 2013. He played in 8 NFL games in 2012 with three games with the Dallas Cowboys and five games with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The 5-foot-11, 190-pounder, originally entered the NFL as a rookie free agent with Tennessee out of Arizona State in 2011. Lewis was released by Tennessee following training camp and spent the season out of football. He spent part of the 2012 offseason with Oakland before being signed by the New York Jets in August. Lewis spent time on the Jets practice squad before being signed to the Dallas 53-man roster, where he played in three games, registering one tackle. After being released by Dallas, Lewis rotated between the Tampa Bay practice squad and 53-man roster, playing in five games and registering three tackles and one interception. Lewis was signed by Chicago in February of 2013 and was released on May 13, 2013.
Zupancic, 23, originally joined New England as a rookie free agent out of Eastern Michigan on May 3, 2013 and was released on August 2, 2013 before being re-signed on Aug. 5. The 6-foot-5, 260-pounder, earned three letters as the team's long snapper.