FOXBOROUGH, Mass. –** The New England Patriots made a series of roster moves today to meet the mandatory NFL cut-down to a 75-man roster. The Patriots released six players and placed two on injured reserve.
The Patriots released the following players: DL Ben Bass, DB Travis Hawkins, WR Derrick Johnson, LB Deontae Skinner, DB Jemea Thomas and WR Wilson Van Hooser.
In addition, the Patriots placed rookie RB Tyler Gaffney and rookie LB Cameron Gordon on injured reserve.
Gaffney, 23, was claimed off waivers and awarded to the Patriots from the Carolina Panthers on July 28, 2014. He was originally drafted by Carolina in the sixth round of the 2014 NFL Draft (204th overall) out of Stanford. Gaffney was injured in training camp and was released by the Panthers on July 27, 2014. The 6-foot, 220-pounder, had a productive senior season in 2013, starting in all 14 games and finishing with 330 rushing attempts for 1,709 yards and 21 rushing touchdowns. Gaffney played as a true freshman in 2009 and then took the 2012 season off to play professional baseball in the Pittsburgh Pirates minor league
Gordon, 23, was originally signed by the Patriots as a rookie free agent out of Michigan on May 12, 2014. He was a four-year letter winner at Michigan, who appeared in 45 games with 15 starts at linebacker. The 6-foot-3, 240-pounder began his career as a wide receiver as a redshirt in 2009 before being moved to safety in 2010 and linebacker in 2011.
Bass, 24, was acquired by the Patriots in a trade with the Dallas Cowboys in exchange for DB Justin Green on Aug. 15, 2014. He originally joined the Cowboys in 2012 as an undrafted free agent out of Texas A&M. The 6-foot-5, 295-pounder spent most of the 2012 season on the Cowboys' practice squad before being activated to the 53-man roster on Nov. 13, 2013. Bass appeared in two games as a rookie before being placed on injured reserve on Dec. 1, 2012. He went to training camp with the Cowboys in 2013 but was placed on injured reserve prior to the start of the regular season.
Hawkins, 23, was originally signed by the Patriots as a rookie free agent out of Delaware on May 12, 2014. Hawkins transferred to Delaware after two seasons at Maryland. The 5-10, 195-pounder, had 66 total tackles, four interceptions and eight passes defensed last season and was named first-team all-conference in 2013.
Johnson, 22, was originally signed by the Patriots as a rookie free agent out of Maine on May 19, 2014. He was released by the Patriots on June 9, 2014 and then re-signed on July 18, 2014. The 5-foot-11, 190-pounder tied for the team lead with 60 receptions for 608 yards and two touchdowns in 2013. Johnson finished his college career with 116 receptions for 1,165 yards and four touchdowns.
Skinner, 23, was originally signed by the Patriots as a rookie free agent out of Mississippi State on May 12, 2014. He was a three-year starter at Mississippi State. The 6-foot-2, 250-pounder first earned a starting position at linebacker as a sophomore in 2011.
Thomas, 24, was selected by the Patriots in the sixth round of the 2014 NFL Draft with the 206th selection overall out of Georgia Tech. It was the third of three 2014 sixth-round selections by the Patriots. The 5-foot-10, 195-pounder played 54 games, tying for the most in Georgia Tech history, and he played every position in the secondary. Thomas finished his career with 234 total tackles ad nine interceptions
Van Hooser, 23, was originally signed by the patriots as a rookie free agent out of Troy on May 27, 2014. He transferred to Troy for the 2013 season after beginning his college career at Tulane. The 6-foot, 195-pounder was a three-year letter winner for Tulane, finishing with 55 receptions for 805 yards and nine touchdowns. Last season at Troy, he played in 10 games and finished with 13 receptions for 188 yards and two touchdowns and returned 15 kicks for 237 yards.
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