Chargers' Garay fined for hitting Brady below knee


Chargers' Garay fined for hitting Brady below knee

By Phil Perry

The Chargers weren't penalized for an illegal hit on Tom Brady last Sunday, but Bolts' defensive tackle Antonio Garay was dealt a blow to his bank account.

Garay was fined 15,000 for hitting Tom Brady below the knee, according to ESPN.

In the third quarter of the Patriots' 35-21 victory over San Diego, Garay tackled Brady around Brady's left knee. The quarterback twisted to the ground and the way his knee bent in the wrong direction may have incurred flashbacks for fans who watched Brady go down with a season-ending ACL tear at the start of the 2008 season.

Brady got up and was fine, and he credited the brace wears on his knee for keeping him from enduring another potentially devastating injury.

"I'm glad I had a knee brace on," Brady said in his weekly appearance on Boston sports radio station WEEI. "Those are scary when you've been through those ones before. He got me in a good spot and I'm glad the knee brace took the brunt of the force. Why I never wore a knee brace before (his season-ending ACL injury in 2008) I have no idea and why every quarterback doesn't wear one on their left knee I have no idea. It's just so unprotected."

Garoppolo on Stork release: 'That's the business, I guess'


Garoppolo on Stork release: 'That's the business, I guess'

FOXBORO -- Jimmy Garoppolo and Bryan Stork arrived to New England as part of the same draft class back in 2014, and over the course of the last two years, they developed a close relationship.

With Stork's release, only two of the team's eight draft picks from that year -- Garoppolo and running back James White -- have remained on the team's active roster uninterrupted. (Offensive linemen Cameron Fleming and Jon Halapio are on the current 90-man roster, but were released and re-signed since being drafted.)

"It's tough," Garoppolo said of Stork's release. "It's that time of year. There's a lot of movement between teams and players and everything, and it's tough to see one of your guys go like that. But that's the business, I guess."

With Stork no longer factoring into the picture at center for the Patriots, the starting role will fall to David Andrews, who was undrafted in 2015 but started the first 10 games of the season last year as Stork worked his way back from the short-term injured reserve list. 

Garoppolo said he has seen good work out of Andrews during training camp, and he likes the way the offensive linemen on the roster -- often subbed in and out during practices to create depth -- have worked together this offseason. 

"David, he's been doing a great job this camp," Garoppolo said. "The whole o-line as a whole, though, it's a good group of guys. No one gets mixed and matched more than those guys do. To be able to work with different people next to you all the time and everything like that. You're getting adjusted to them, they're getting adjusted to you. It's really a credit to those guys up front. They all handle it very well." 

Working behind Andrews at the center position during training camp have been Josh Kline and sixth-round rookie draft pick Ted Karras. 

Patriots release veteran wide receiver Nate Washington


Patriots release veteran wide receiver Nate Washington

FOXBORO -- The Patriots cut down on their numbers at the receiver position on Wednesday by releasing veteran Nate Washington, Tom E. Curran has reported.

Washington, who will turn 33 later this month, was signed in the offseason to a one-year deal with $60,000 guaranteed. His presence on the roster provided the Patriots with some veteran depth as an outside receiver, but when he vomitted at the end of the team's first training camp practice and then missed several practices thereafter, he had difficulty making up for lost time. 

Washington did whatever he could in order to stay involved. Oftentimes he walked in and out of the huddle with teammates even though he would not be involved in the play, and during one practice he ran routes alone on an adjacent field while the Patriots offense went through plays nearby.

The former Steelers, Titans and Texans receiver was eager to prove he had more to give at this late stage of his career. Last season in Houston, in an offense similar to the one in New England, he caught 47 passes for 658 yards and four touchdowns. Prior to last season, during which he played 14 games, Washington had not missed a regular-season game since before the start of the 2006 season. 

With Washington no longer a factor in the wide-receiver picture in New England, the Patriots have one less competitor for what appears as though it will be just one or two open roster spots at the position. 

At the top of the depth chart Julian Edelman, Danny Amendola, Chris Hogan and Malcolm Mitchell are essentially locks to be included on the final 53-man roster. (Amendola is on the physically unable to perform list at the moment but is progressing toward a return.) Matthew Slater can also be included on that list, though his contributions will come primarily as a special teamer.

That means Keshawn Martin, Aaron Dobson, Chris Harper, DeAndre Carter and Devin Lucien could be competing for just one roster spot.

Washington's release gives that situation a little more clarity, but the overall picture is still a hazy one that may sort itself out over the course of the next two weeks.