Anyone who's followed the Patriots closely the past couple of years wouldn't be surprised to learn that rarely-used wide receiver Taylor Price has been cut loose by the team after less than two years in New England.
Behind from the start since being drafted in the third round last year, Price was the victim of an arcane NFL rule that prevented him from taking part in mini-camps with the rest of the 2010 rookie class. That, plus a nagging hamstring injury, conspired to keep the six-footer from ever being able to catch up fully, it seems. Price now joins other recent Patriots third-round choices who've failed to stick (LB Shawn Crable, QB Kevin O'Connell).
The release of Price may have been inevitable, but it was necessitated this weekend because of a rash of injuries to New England's offensive line. Already down to their third starting center of the season, the Patriots needed an immediate backup to Ryan Wendell (calf), who is QUESTIONABLE for Sunday's 1 o'clock kickoff against the Colts tomorrow. That's why practice squad player Nick McDonald has been promoted, as we speculated might happen in yesterday's practice notebook on the blog.
If Wendell can't go and previous starter Dan Connolly (who was already filling in for the injured Dan Koppen) is unavailable tomorrow (groin injury, QUESTIONABLE), McDonald could find himself snapping to Tom Brady. He told us Friday that he has been preparing and is prepared for that opportunity, should the need arise.
New England will also start a rookie at right tackle — either Nate Solder or Marcus Cannon — because regular starter Sebastian Vollmer (back/right foot) has been ruled OUT of the contest as well.
Back to Price … his spot also became expendable, apparently, when veteran Chad Ochocinco, who missed last week's game at Philly with a hamstring injury, healed enough this week to be listed as PROBABLE. That and the sudden emergence of veteran Tiquan Underwood made Price the odd man out when a roster spot was needed for McDonald.