Banta-Cain: 'It's been a fun ride' with Patriots


Banta-Cain: 'It's been a fun ride' with Patriots

By Tom E. Curran Patriots Insider Follow @tomecurran
FOXBORO - You knew news of Tully Banta-Cain's sports hernia surgery was not going to go over well with the Patriots. The injurywas there at the end of last season and he could have had surgery to correct it then. Instead, the outside linebacker opted to see if it improved during the lockout. It didn't. So he went under the knife last week. Now the outside linebacker drafted by the Patriots in the seventh round in 2003 suffers another cut. He will be released by the Patriots on Thursday.In a text message, Banta-Cain told me, "It was a fun ride. Countless memories of New England for life. Thanks for everything. TBC." That Banta-Cain was going to be laid low until at least September and miss virtually all of training camp after the lockout couldn't have helped his cause. Neither did the fact he carried a cap hit of more than 4.5 million and that -- when the Rule of 51 kicks in on August 4 -- he was going to be dead weight during his convalesence. Cutting Banta-Cain means the team's salary capwill still get hit with a portion of the signing bonus they gave him last March when Banta-Cain signed a four-year, 13 million deal. That figures to be about 2 million. We're still trying to figure out whether the Patriots reached an injury settlement with Banta-Cain based on the hernia that was there at the end of last season. Or is the fact Banta-Cain said it got worse during the lockout grounds for the Patriots to say it was an injury sustained while he wasn't their responsibility. The chance exists that the Patriots may try to re-sign Banta-Cain when he's healed but his brief text did have an air of finality to it. The Patriots are not well armed at outside linebacker. Jermaine Cunningham, Rob Ninkovich, Eric Moore and Marques Murrell are in the mix. Markell Carter was a sixth-round pick in April. Tom E. Curran can be reached at Follow Tom on Twitter at http:twitter.comtomecurran

Game notes: Patriots vs. Steelers


Game notes: Patriots vs. Steelers

A quick look at the information you need to know about today's Patriots-Steelers game:

TEAM RECORDS: Patriots 5-1, Steelers 4- 2

GAME TIME: 4:25 p.m. EST


TV ANNOUNCERS: Jim Nantz, Phil Simms and Tracy Wolfson


NATIONAL RADIO ANNOUNCERS: Larry Kahn, Mark Carrier and Troy West

LOCAL RADIO NETWORK: Anchored by WBZ-FM (98.5 The Sports Hub)

LOCAL RADIO ANNOUNCERS: Bob Socci and Scott Zolak


LAST MEETING: Patriots 28, Steelers 21 on Sept. 10, 2015 at Gillette Stadium

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-- The Patriots are 8-11 against the Steelers in Pittsburgh in their history, but are 4-2 at Heinz Field. Included in those four Heinz Field victories are two in AFC Championship Games (in the 2001 and 2004 seasons).

-- Tom Brady is 8-2 against the Steelers in his career.

-- The last time Brady played the Steelers, in 2015, he set a Patriots franchise record with 19 consecutive pass completions.

-- The Patriots are 108-70 (.607) in road games since 1994, the best record in the NFL over that span. The Steelers (97- 82, .542) are second.

-- The Patriots have yet to throw an interception in 2016, setting a team record for consecutive games without an interception at the start of a season (6). The NFL record for consecutive games at the start of a season without a pick is 9, set by the 1960 Browns. The Patriots' franchise record for overall consecutive games with no interceptions is 8, set in 2010.

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-- Rob Gronkowski has 67 overall touchdowns and needs one to tie Stanley Morgan (68) for the franchise record.

-- Gronkowski has 66 receiving touchdowns and needs one to tie Morgan (67) for the franchise record.

-- Gronkowski has 22 100-yard receiving games, including two in 2016, and is tied with Jackie Smith for the third-most among all NFL tight ends. The only TEs who have more are Kellen Winslow (24) and Tony Gonzalez (31).