The New England Patriots are reportedly cutting veteran defensive tackle Tommy Kelly as part of their cut down to 75 players.
According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, via Twitter:
NE with some notable cuts: Patriots released veteran DL Tommie Kelly and Will Smith, along with vet LB James Anderson, per league source.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) August 24, 2014
Kelly missed 11 games during the 2013 season with a torn ACL and the Patriots defense struggled without him, but it appears his return to New England will be 50 preseason snaps over three games. According to Tom E. Curran of Comcast Sports Net New England, via Twitter:
Tommy Kelly on reason for his release: “I don’t know but I enjoy my time and my teammates. I have no problem moving along with my career.”
— Tom E. Curran (@tomecurran) August 24, 2014
Kelly did not make a tackle in his three preseason games.
In five games last season, Kelly had 22 tackles and 2½ sacks. He was an undrafted free agent out of Mississippi State in 2004 and signed with the Oakland Raiders, eventually earning a starting job at defensive tackle. He had 34½ sacks in nine seasons with the Raiders.
Defensive end Will Smith, another veteran returning from injury, is also reportedly among the cuts. He had two tackles in three preseason games. Smith missed the 2013 season with the New Orleans Saints because of an ACL injury.
In nine seasons with the Saints, Smith had 67½ sacks and was a Pro Bowler in 2006. New Orleans took him 18th overall out of Ohio State in 2004.
The third high profile cut reported by Schefter was linebacker James Anderson. Anderson played in two preseason contests, starting one, and had 11 tackles.
He led the Chicago Bears with 102 tackles last season and also had four sacks. Prior to going to Chicago, Anderson played seven seasons with the Carolina Panthers, who drafted him in the third round out of Virginia Tech in 2006.