FOXBOROUGH, Mass. - The New England Patriots have released 15 players today, placed three players on the reserve physically unable to perform list, one player on the reserve non-football injury List and one on injured reserve to reach the NFL mandatory 53-man limit.
The Patriots released veteran players, DL Landon Cohen, LB Niko Koutouvides, S Brandon Meriweather, DE Eric Moore, RB Sammy Morris, WR Brandon Tate and WR Tiquan Underwood; first-year players, OL Thomas Austin, RB Eric Kettani and DB Ross Ventrone and rookies, LB Markell Carter, DL Aaron Lavarias, DE Alex Silvestro, TE Lee Smith and TE Will Yeatman.
In addition, DL Ron Brace, DL Brandon Deaderick RB Kevin Faulk were placed on the reserve physically unable to perform list and 2011 fifth-round draft pick Marcus Cannon was placed on the reserve non-football injury list.
OL Rich Ohrnberger was placed on injured reserve.
Cohen, 6-3, 300 pounds, was signed by the Patriots on December 22, 2010 and played in two games with one start and finished with four tackles. He is a veteran of three NFL seasons after spending time with the Detroit Lions (2008-09), Jacksonville Jaguars (2010) and Patriots (2010). Cohen was originally drafted by Detroit in the seventh round of the 2008 NFL draft out of Ohio.
Koutouvides, 6-2, 238 pounds, was signed by the Patriots on August 14, 2011. He is a veteran of seven NFL seasons with the Seattle Seahawks (2004-07), Denver Broncos (2008) and Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2010). Koutouvides originally entered the NFL as a fourth round draft pick (116th overall) of Seattle in 2004 out of Purdue.
Meriweather, 5-11, 200 pounds, was drafted by the Patriots in the first round (24th overall) of the 2007 NFL Draft out of Miami. He has played in 64 games with 40 starts over his first four NFL seasons and has registered 244 total tackles and 12 interceptions. He had a career-high five interception in 2008 when he earned the first of two consecutive Pro Bowl berths.
Moore, 6-4, 268 pounds, was signed by the Patriots on December 3, 2010. He played in four games with three starts for the Patriots and finished with 13 tackles, 2.0 sacks, two forced fumbles and one fumble recovery. He is a veteran of five NFL seasons with the New York Giants (2005), New Orleans Saints (2006) and St. Louis Rams (2006-08) and Patriots (2010). Moore originally entered the NFL as a sixth-round draft pick (186th overall) by the New York Giants out of Florida State in 2005.
Morris, 6-0, 220, spent the last four seasons (2007-10) with the Patriots after joining the team as an unrestricted free agent on March 3, 2007. He originally joined the NFL as a fifth-round draft pick (156th overall) of the Buffalo Bills in the 2000 NFL Draft out of Texas Tech. After four years in Buffalo, Morris spent three seasons (2004-06) with the Miami Dolphins. Morris led the Patriots in 2008 with 727 rushing yards and a career-high seven touchdowns.
Tate, 6-1, 195 pounds, was drafted by the Patriots in the third round (83rd overall) of the 2009 NFL Draft out of North Carolina. After appearing in just two games as a rookie in 2009, Tate played in all 16 games with 10 starts last season and finished with 24 receptions for 432 yards with three touchdowns and returned 41 kickoffs for 1,057 yards with two touchdowns.
Underwood, 6-1, 183 pounds, is a veteran of two NFL seasons with the Jacksonville Jaguars who signed with the Patriots on August 29 after being released by Jacksonville. Underwood originally entered the NFL as a seventh round draft choice (253rd overall) by Jacksonville in the 2009 NFL Draft out of Rutgers. After beginning his rookie season on the practice squad, he joined the 53-man roster and appeared in three games, mainly on special teams. Last season, he played in 10 games and caught eight passes for 111 yards and returned 24 kicks for 561 yards, including a career-long of 53 yards in the season-opener vs. Denver (9/12).
FIRST YEAR PLAYERS
Austin, 6-4, 310 pounds, was originally signed by Minnesota as a rookie free agent on April 24, 2010 out of Clemson. He was waived by Minnesota on Sept. 4 and joined the New England practice squad on Sept. 29.
Kettani, 5-11, 235 pounds, was originally signed by the Patriots as a rookie free agent on May 4, 2009 out of Navy and was placed on the reserve military list on July 23, 2009. He was activated from the reserve military list on July 28, 2011.
Ventrone, 5-8, 190 pounds, was originally signed by the Patriots as a rookie free agent out of Villanova on April 29, 2010. He was waived by the Patriots on September 4, 2010 and then signed to the practice squad on October 19, 2010 where he finished the season. Ventrone went to camp with the Patriots in 2011 before being released on August 10 and then re-signed on August 29.
Carter, a linebacker from Central Arkansas, was selected by the Patriots in the sixth round of the 2011 NFL Draft with the 194th selection overall. Carter, 6-4, 248 pounds, accumulated 143 total tackles and 16.5 sacks as a defensive end during his college career at Central Arkansas He started all 12 games as a junior and senior. Carter earned All-Southland Conference following his senior season in 2010.
Lavarias, 6-2, 255 pounds, was signed by the Patriots on July 27, 2011 as a rookie free agent out of Idaho. He was named second team All-WAC as a senior in 2010 after finishing with 52 total tackles and 10.0 sacks.
Silvestro, 6-3, 267 pounds, was signed by the Patriots as a rookie free agent out of Rutgers on July 27, 2011. He began his career at Rutgers as a linebacker before moving to defensive end and defensive tackle. As a senior in 2010, he had 56 total tackles, 14.5 for a loss, and 4.5 sacks.
Smith, a tight end from Marshall, was selected by the Patriots in the fifth round of the 2011 NFL Draft with the 159th selection overall. Smith, 6-6, 269 pounds, appeared in 48 games with Marshall, starting 24 contests. Smith closed out his career with 75 receptions for 791 yards and three touchdowns. He was named All-Conference USA second-team as a senior in 2010.
Yeatman, 6-5, 268 pounds, was a two-sport standout at both Notre Dame and Maryland in football and lacrosse. After three seasons at Notre Dame (2006-08), he transferred to Maryland and sat out the 2009 season. As a senior in 2010, he played in all 11 games with three starts and finished with 13 receptions for 134 yards and one touchdown.