FOXBOROUGH, Mass. - The New England Patriots released tight end O.J. Santiago, signed tight end Matt Kranchick to the practice squad and placed tight end Rod Trafford on the practice squad reserve/injured list today.
Santiago, 32, was signed by the Patriots on Dec. 13 and is in his seventh NFL season. He has played in 78 career games with 60 starts for the Atlanta Falcons (1997-99), Dallas Cowboys (2000), Cleveland Browns (2001) and Oakland Raiders (2003). The 6-foot-7-inch, 265-pound tight end has recorded 81 career receptions for 1,041 yards and nine touchdowns. He was originally drafted by the Falcons in the third round (70th overall) of the 1997 NFL Draft. Santiago was Atlanta's primary starting tight end for three seasons from 1997-99, starting all 41 games in which he appeared over that span.
Kranchick, 27, has played in eight career games with two starts for the Pittsburgh Steelers (2004-2005) and the New York Giants (2005). The 6-foot-7-inch, 260-pound tight end was originally drafted out of Penn State by the Steelers in the sixth round (194th overall) of the 2004 NFL draft. The Carlisle, Pa. native was signed by the Giants off of the Steelers' practice squad in December of 2005 and played in the final two regular season games and one playoff game for the Giants. After being released by the Giants in June 2006, Kranchick spent the 2006 preseason with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers before being released in the final preseason roster cutdown.
Trafford, 28, was signed to the Patriots practice squad on Dec. 13 and has played in four career games, all with the Buffalo Bills in 2004. He was originally signed by the Patriots as a rookie free agent on Jan. 17, 2003. The 6-foot-3-inch, 250-pound tight end was with the Patriots for their 2003 training camp, but was released on Aug. 28, 2003. He spent time on the practice squads of the Buffalo Bills (2003) and Philadelphia Eagles (2004) and played in the final four games of the 2004 season for the Buffalo Bills, recording three receptions for 25 yards.