FOXBORO -- Tight end Zach Sudfeld was released by the Patriots on Thursday, the team announced.
With both Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez missing from action during training camp, there was a chance for a tight end and Sudfeld appeared to be the player who stood to benefit most from the opportunity.
The 6-foot-7, 260-pound undrafted free agent out of Nevada quickly became a fan-favorite at camp as he flashed an ability to make difficult catches, his long brown hair flowing out of the back of his helmet.
The glimpses of chemistry he showed with quarterback Tom Brady did not translate to the regular season, it appeared.
On Sudfeld's lone target in Week 1 against the Bills, Brady's pass was tipped into the hands of Buffalo corner Justin Rogers for an interception. In Week 3 against the Bucs, Sudfeld was double-teamed in the end zone and a pass thrown in his direction -- though targeted for rookie receiver Aaron Dobson, according to Brady -- was picked off by Mark Barron. Against the Falcons on Sunday night, he got his hands on an onsides kick attempt by Atlanta but couldn't hold on and the Falcons recovered.
Tight ends Michael Hoomanawanui and Matt Mulligan have played well in blocking situations, and both, in a short sample, have proven to be more productive receivers. Hoomanawanui has three grabs for 36 yards, while Mulligan caught a one-yard touchdown pass last week in Atlanta.
Gronkowski has yet to play this season with forearm and back issues, but he has said he is progressing toward a return.