FOXBORO -- Meetings at Gillette Stadium began at noon on Friday and the roster started getting shaved down to 53 men shortly thereafter.
Quarterback Brian Hoyer was cut, as confirmed by Tom Curran.
The Boston Globe reports C Dan Koppen, WR Deion Branch, and S James Ihedigbo were also released.
The loss of Koppen isn't surprising considering his struggles this training camp and the three-year, 9.7 million contract Dan Connolly signed in March. But the move does signal an end of an era. The 32-year old center was in New England for the nine seasons since he being drafted out of Boston College.
Hoyer has been Tom Brady's backup since 2009. In 13 games over that span, he went 27-for-43 for 286 yards and one touchdown.
Branch could be back. The receiver has spent six of his 10 NFL seasons in New England and has a valuable on-field connection with Brady. Last season, at 32, Branch started all 15 of the games he played. He had 51 catches for 702 yards and five touchdowns.
Ihedigbo's production in 2011 was limited a shoulder injury. But the 6-1, 214-pound safety did manage a career-high 46 tackles and one pass defensed for the Patriots.
Multiple reports have noted the axing of DB Derrick Martin and DEOLB Aaron Lavarias.
Postgame notes from the Patriots' 27-16 victory over the Steelers, courtesy of the Pats' P.R. department:
-- The Patriots are 6-1 and have won at least six of their first seven games for the eighth time in team history and the sixth time under coach Bill Belichick. The Pats started 7-0 in 2007 and 2015, and 6-1 in 1974, 1980, 2004, 2006, 2010 and 2016.
-- The Patriots extended their franchise record of games at the start of a season without an interception to seven. (The previous team record was four, set last year.) The NFL record is nine, set by the 1960 Browns, and the 2008 Redskins had eight.
-- Rob Gronkowski tied Stanley Morgan's franchise record for most touchdowns (68) and most touchdown receptions (67).
-- The TD pass caught by Gronkowski was the 66th he's caught from Tom Brady, putting the two of them in seventh place in NFL history for most quarterback-to-receiver touchdowns. They trail Peyton Manning/Marvin Harrison (112), Steve Young/Jerry Rice (85), Dan Marino/Mark Clayton (79), Philip Rivers/Antonio Gates (79), Drew Brees/Marques Colson (72) and Manning/Reggie Wayne (67). Sunday's Brady-to-Gronkowski TD broke a tie at 65 with Jim Kelly/Andre Reed.
-- Gronkowski now has 5,930 career receiving yards, 14th-best among tight ends in NFL history. His 93 yards Sunday moved him past Todd Heap (5,869) and Todd Christensen (5,872).
-- LeGarrette Blount rushed for 127 yards, his third 100-yard game of the season and 13th of his career.
The New England Patriots beat the Pittsburgh Steelers 27-16, and the latest edition of The TB Times was quickly distributed to the Facebook world.
This time, Tom Brady, Chris Long and Malcom Brown are spotted sneaking out of Heinz Field with a steele "W," the headline reads "Pats Steel one in Pitt."
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