Patriots try out six players, one tweets he's joined 49ers

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Patriots try out six players, one tweets he's joined 49ers

The Patriots continue to feel out the available talent on the market, trying out six players on Sunday.

New England tried out Chandler Fenner, defensive back Holy Cross; Jerry Franklin, linebacker Arkansas; Buddy Jackson, defensive back Pittsburgh; Ricardo Lockette, wide receiver Ft. Valley St.; Tyler Nielsen, linebacker Iowa; JK Schaffer, linebacker Cincinnati.

Lockette, a wide receiver, had a minimal role on the Seahawks last season before being cut by the team prior to this season. He tweeted Monday evening, "Boarding my flight I will miss seattle so much but I very honored and proud to be an ....." The Pats tryout, coupled with the timing of Lockette's Tweet could have meant he was on his way to New England. On top of that, Albany Herald reports that Seahawks wideout Golden Tate tweeted last night (and then deleted) "good luck lock, until u play us". The Pats and Seahawks play on October 14. BUT . . . Lockette just tweeted, "I am the newest member of the 49ers". So, that's that.

Fenner, a free agent rookie, was a final cutdown day casualty of the Kansas City Chiefs this year. He spent four years at Holy Cross, starting the final two seasons. He finished with 68 tackles, two interceptions and 14 pass breakups in his senior year. He was also a member of the Holy Cross Track and Field team, specializing in sprints and jumps.

Franklin was undrafted, but signed by the Broncos as an rookie free agent. He was later released on the team's final cutdown day. Franklin finished his four-year career with 51 games played, 369 tackles (31 for loss), 10 sacks, and five interceptions. Franklin was the team's leading tackler last season, and played on the same defense as Patriots DE Jake Bequette.

Jackson was signed by the Colts as an undrafted rookie free agent and looked to be doing well, but was later waived by the team in August. It looks like an undisclosed injury was the reason. Jackson has some speed and according to Rob Rang of nfldraftscout.com used it to impress scouts along with his leaping ability. Jackson was primarily a special teamer (kick returner) at Pittsburgh but got time at corner in his senior year, finishing with 34 tackles.

Nielsen was signed and then released by the Vikings when they trimmed their roster to 75 players. Nielsen is a player that NFL Network's Mike Mayock was particularly high on as a sleeper linebacker. Here's what Mayock said: "Nielsen is very undervalued. He played through some injuries this year. If you didnt know that, you might not like him. But I think hes one of the better special teams players in this draft who ultimately might be a starting SAM (strong side) backer in this league. And I think youll be able to get him somewhere around the fifth round.

Schaffer was cut by the Jaguars as an undrafted rookie on the final day of roster cutdowns. He was later signed days later by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to the practice squad but released on September 18. Schaffer was not only Cincinnati's best tackler, but was the Big East Conference active leader in tackles, recording 100 or more tackles in three straight seasons.

(Jimmy Toscano contributed to this report)

Wednesday's Pats-Bills practice report: Jimmy G., Brissett both 'limited'

Wednesday's Pats-Bills practice report: Jimmy G., Brissett both 'limited'

FOXBORO -- The highly-anticipated first Patriots injury report of the week was released on Wednesday afternoon, and it was fairly predictable. 

Both injured quarterbacks were active but limited in their practice participation, the report indicated. That comes as little surprise as both Jimmy Garoppolo (shoulder) and Jacoby Brissett (thumb) were spotted throwing passes early in Wednesday's practice. Neither appeared to be experiencing any significant discomfort as they made their warm-up throws. 

Patriots linebacker Dont'a Hightower (knee) and tight end Rob Gronkowski (hamstring) were also limited. Gronkowski admitted that the team was taking it slow with him in his first game back on the field last week -- he played just 14 snaps in New England's win over Houston -- but he said on Wednesday that he hoped to go "freakin' crazy" on the field soon.

NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS

LIMITED PARTICIPATION
QB Jacoby Brissett (right thumb)
OT Marcus Cannon (calf)
G Jonathan Cooper (foot)
LB Jonathan Freeny (shoulder)
QB Jimmy Garoppolo (shoulder)
TE Rob Gronkowski (hamstring)
LB Dont'a Hightower (knee)
CB Eric Rowe (ankle)

BUFFALO BILLS

DID NOT PARTICIPATE
TE Charles Clay (knee)
OL Cyrus Kouandjio (ankle)
OL Patrick Lewis (knee)
WR Sammy Watkins (foot)

LIMITED PARTICIPATION
DB Colt Anderson (foot)
DB Ronald Darby (hamstring)
QB Cardale Jones (right shoulder)
DB Jonathan Meeks (foot)
WR Greg Salas (groin)
DB Aaron Williams (ankle)
OL Cordy Glenn (ankle)

Garoppolo: Not pressured by Patriots to return last Thursday

Garoppolo: Not pressured by Patriots to return last Thursday

FOXBORO -- Jimmy Garoppolo spoke Wednesday for the first time since getting his shoulder separated by the Dolphins’ Kiko Alonso. Standing by his locker, Garoppolo was predictably vague about the status of his arm, unless you consider, “Getting better day by day,” as being insightful. 

The only two responses offered that were worth a damn came when asked if he could have done anything different when he got squished by Alonso while retreating and buying time.  

“Just have to be smart I guess,” said Garoppolo. “I mean, it’s football and stuff’s gonna happen like that, but have to be smart in those situations.”

Asked if he regretted holding the ball as long as he did on a third-down play with the Patriots up 21-0, Garoppolo replied, “After it’s all said and done it’s easy to say that, but it’s one of those things, you’re in the heat of the game. But bottom line I have to be smarter than that.”

Agreed.  

Meanwhile, as he worked last week to get back for Thursday night’s game against Houston, The Boston Herald reported that the Patriots were “putting pressure” on Garoppolo to be ready for the game. Working hard to get key players ready for upcoming games is standard operating procedure for a medical staff. Trying to force a player to perform is not. 

I asked Garoppolo if he felt unduly pressured. He replied, “No.”