Sudfeld was one that got away from Patriots

Sudfeld was one that got away from Patriots
January 31, 2014, 11:00 am
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NEW YORK – There’s no way to know how much Zach Sudfeld might have helped the 2013 Patriots but you can be sure his presence wouldn’t have hurt.
 
Down the stretch and in the playoffs when Tom Brady was without a viable pass-catching tight end, Sudfeld – an undrafted rookie tight end out of Nevada – would have filled a void.
 
Instead, he was long gone. Released by the Patriots after the third game of the season, Sudfeld never cleared waivers. The Jets claimed him. And he never got the chance to follow up his scintillating training camp performances in games of import.
 
Sudfeld saw seven passes thrown his way in New York. He caught five of them for 63 yards.
 
Whether the Jets intended it or not, Sudfeld was a signing that certainly had an impact on the Patriots who released Sudfeld to clear room for wide receiver Austin Collie.
 
“When I went in (to Bill Belichick’s office), Bill said that they would like to put me on the practice squad and if I had cleared waivers they would have put me on the practice squad,” Sudfeld explained Thursday at the Super Bowl in New York. “When I was released, Bill said, basically, ‘You gotta leave here but I’ll see you again tomorrow.’ But I got the call the next day that the Jets claimed me so in the span of 24 hours I’d gone from Bill’s office to on my way to New York.”
 
In the first game of the season, Sudfeld injured his hamstring at Buffalo. On the play he was injured, he seemed to slip as he came back for a Tom Brady pass that was intercepted. Sudfeld’s reps decreased the next two weeks. Still, his release was a risk because of the Patriots need for a pass-catching tight end with Rob Gronkowski healing slowly and Aaron Hernandez in prison.
 
Though he wasn’t nearly as physically strong as he needed to be, he did have upside as a big target with excellent hands.  
 
“Showing up to New England, I didn’t know what to expect with so many tight ends on their roster,” he recalled. “I just went out and tried to earn a spot on the team and fortunately things happened to where I was able to stand out.”
 
Sudfeld is still under contract with the Jets so unless he gets lopped the Patriots won’t soon have a chance to get him back. But it would have been nice for Tom Brady to have a 6-foot-7 tight end in Denver a few weeks ago.