Curran: Injury turned Sanders into cap casualty

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Curran: Injury turned Sanders into cap casualty

By Tom E. Curran
CSNNE.com Patriots Insider Follow @tomecurran
Damned if you do. Damned if you don't. James Sanders ended up being a member of the former group on Monday. The safety was released by the Patriots after taking part in just four training camp practices. The reason he was idle so much? He injured his hamstring trying to stay in shape during the NFL lockout. "I wish I would have had a fair shot this camp. I came in hurt and obviously that weighed into it," Sanders told Mike Reiss of ESPNBoston.com. "But stuff happens and you have to move on.While Sanders' 2.8 million salary in 2011 couldn't have helped his cause for staying, he had no chance to prove he was worth that dough because he wasn't able to go. Sanders joins Tully Banta-Cain and Ty Warren as 2011 cap casualties. The Patriots' safety depth has been winnowed even more with the release but -- as I pointed out in the past few weeks as media crows circled Brandon Meriweather -- the chance Meriweather would be axed seemed small. Despite a power outage at Gillette that forced the team from the facility, the Patriots got their roster down to 80 players well in advance of Tuesday's 4 p.m. deadline. The other prominent player released Monday was Jonathan Wilhite. The fourth-year corner from Auburn mainly defended the slot receiver in the Patriots defense (the "star" position) but he actually did most of his best work outside. He was fairly effective in 2009 and had 13 starts in 39 games with the team, but he played in only nine games last year after hurting his hamstring and probably is best served with a change of scenery. The team also released tight end Garrett Mills, who they signed last week. The team originally drafted Mills in 2006 but he never played a down in New England. Rookie corner Malcolm Williams, a seventh-rounder out of TCU, was released. So was long-snapper Matt Katula, who was brought induring the 2010 season when 2010 draft pick Jake Ingram got the long-snapping yips. Katula had a bad snap in the Patriots' preseason opener on a field-goal attempt. Wide receivers Tyree Barnes and Darnell Jenkins (a big Quick Slants fan, I salute YOU, Darnell), defensive lineman Kade Weston, defensive end Clay Nurse, offensive lineman Mark Wetterer and kicker Chris Koepplin were shown politely to the door as well. The Patriots brought back safety Ross Ventrone - a lower-budget depth guy who can play special teams and fill in at the back of the defense. They also signed former Jags receiver Tiquan Underwood. Heplayed in 10 games and caught eight passes for 111 yards and returned 24 kicks for 561 yards last season. If he works out, Brandon Tate's time may be nigh.

Tom E. Curran can be reached at tcurran@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Tom on Twitter at http:twitter.comtomecurran

Perry's Patriots 53-man roster projection

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Perry's Patriots 53-man roster projection

With New England Patriots organized workouts finished until next month, Phil Perry puts together another 53-man roster projection.

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Affleck offers passionate Brady defense when asked about Deflategate

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Affleck offers passionate Brady defense when asked about Deflategate

When the topic of Deflategate was broached on HBO's Any Given Wednesday with Bill Simmons, which debuted this week, Ben Affleck became all kinds of fired up.

"What they did was suspend Tom Brady for four days for not giving them his [expletive] cellphone," Affleck said. "I would never give an organization as leak-prone as the NFL my [expletive] cellphone . . . so you can just look through my emails and listen to my voicemails?"

Affleck grew up in Cambridge, Mass. and is a passionate Patriots fan. He made no attempts to hide his fandom, and his appreciation for Brady, as he and Simmons (also a Patriots fan) discussed the football-deflation controversy that has now lasted well over a year. 

Affleck, who said he would want to cast himself as Brady if ever a Deflategate movie was made, harped on the fact that the league wanted Brady to turn over his phone. 

"Maybe Tom Brady is so [expletive] classy and such a [expletive] gentleman," Affleck said, "that he doesn’t want people to know that he may have reflected on his real opinion on some of his co-workers."

Brady is waiting for the Second Circuit to make a decision as to whether or not it will rehear his case against the NFL. Earlier this offseason, the Second Circuit reinstated Brady's four-game suspension issued by the league when a three-judge panel ruled in favor of the NFL, 2-1. 

Pro Football Talk wrote on Thursday that a decision from the Second Circuit could come at any time. If the rehearding request is denied, Brady could then take the case to the Supreme Court. Should the Second Circuit grant Brady a rehearing, his suspension would be delaed until the court reached a decision. In that case, Brady could potentially play the entire 2016 season before a decision came to pass.