Patriots name eight to practice squad

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Patriots name eight to practice squad

From Patriots press release:

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. The New England Patriots announced today the signing of eight players to the practice squad. Signed today were: LB Markell Carter, RB Eric Kettani, OL Matt Kopa, DE Aaron Lavarias, OL Nick McDonald, WR Kerry Taylor, S Ross Ventrone and OL Thomas Welch.

2011 PRACTICE SQUAD PLAYERS

Carter, a linebacker from Central Arkansas, was selected by the Patriots in the sixth round of the 2011 NFL Draft with the 194th selection overall. Carter, 6-4, 248 pounds, accumulated 143 total tackles and 16.5 sacks as a defensive end during his college career at Central Arkansas He started all 12 games as a junior and senior. Carter earned All-Southland Conference following his senior season in 2010.

Kettani, 5-11, 235 pounds, was originally signed by the Patriots as a rookie free agent on May 4, 2009, out of Navy and was placed on the reserve military list on July 23, 2009. He was activated from the reserve military list on July 28, 2011.

Kopa, 6-6, 303 pounds, was originally signed by the San Francisco 49ers as a rookie free agent out of Stanford on June 8, 2010. He was released by the 49ers on Sept. 3, 2010 and signed to the practice squad on Sept. 5, 2010. Kopa was signed to the Miami Dolphins 53-man roster from the 49ers practice squad on Nov. 9, 2011 but was inactive for the final eight games of the season. He was released by Miami on Sept. 3, 2011.

Lavarias, 6-2, 255 pounds, was signed by the Patriots on July 27, 2011 as a rookie free agent out of Idaho. He was named second team All-WAC as a senior in 2010 after finishing with 52 total tackles and 10.0 sacks.

McDonald, 6-4, 316 pounds, was originally signed by the Green Bay Packers as a rookie free agent out of Grand Valley State on April 30, 2010. He was inactive for all 16 regular-season games and four postseason games with the Packers last season. McDonald was released by the Packers on Sept. 3, 2011.

Ventrone, 5-8, 190 pounds, was originally signed by the Patriots as a rookie free agent out of Villanova on April 29, 2010. He was waived by the Patriots on Sept. 4, 2010 and then signed to the practice squad on Oct. 19, 2010 where he finished the season. Ventrone went to camp with the Patriots in 2011 before being released on August 10 and then re-signed on August 29.

Taylor, 6-0, 196 pounds, was originally signed by Green Bay as a rookie free agent on July 28, 2011 out of Arizona State. He was released by Green Bay on Sept. 3, 2011. He appeared in 46 games with 20 starts at Arizona State and finished his career with 112 receptions for 1,433 yards and seven touchdowns.

Welch, 6-7, 310 pounds, was originally selected by the Patriots in the seventh round (208th overall) of the 2010 NFL Draft out of Vanderbilt. After being released by the Patriots on Sept. 4, 2010 be was signed to the Minnesota practice squad on Sept. 6, 2010. He was signed to the Minnesota 53-man roster on Dec. 14 but was inactive for the final three games of the season. Welch was released by Minnesota on Sept. 3, 2011.

Patriots get roster exemption for Ebner, add TE Pascoe and OL Halapio

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Patriots get roster exemption for Ebner, add TE Pascoe and OL Halapio

FOXBORO -- The Patriots, as expected, have been given a roster exemption for safety Nate Ebner. Therefore, while Ebner is playing for the USA Rugby Men's Sevens team in the Rio Olympics, his spot will not count against New England's 90-man roster. 

"I’ve talked to Nate several times," coach Bill Belichick said on Wednesday. "Wish him well in his endeavor. It’s a great opportunity for him to follow his passion, participate in the Olympic Games. We’re pulling for him to bring back something around his neck."

With the roster exemption, the Patriots found themselves at 88 players on their roster. In order to fill their last two openings, they signed offensive lineman Jon Halapio and tight end Bear Pascoe, Belichick announced. 

Halapio, a product of the University of Florida, was a sixth-round selection by the Patriots in 2014. He was released at the end of training camp that year, and he later landed on the Broncos practice squad in December of 2014. Before the start of last season, Halapio signed with the Cardinals. He was released on Sept. 5. 

In between NFL gigs, Halapio has spent time with the Boston Brawlers and the Brooklyn Bolts, both of the Fall Experimental Football League. 

Pascoe, 30, is in his eighth NFL season. He has spent time with the Giants, Falcons and Lions, primarily as a blocking tight end. In his career, the 6-foot-5, 257-pounder has caught 40 passes for 336 yards and two touchdowns in 85 career games. 

Ebner will participate in the Olympic rugby competition with Team USA beginning on Aug. 6, and fellow Patriots special teams ace Mathew Slater will be paying attention.

"I’m just so happy for him," Slater said. "And I know why rugby means so much to him, and many of us are familiar with the situation with his father, and his father obviously introduced him to the game of [rugby]. So, that connection with father and son is bigger than sport itself.

"I know this means a great deal to him and we’re all excited for him. I’m just trying to figure out where I can get my Ebner rugby jersey. I’ll be supporting him and watching him along the way."