FOXBORO - Tom Brady lobbied for the return of prodigal wideouts Jabar Gaffney and Donte Stallworth during the offseason but neither man made it past Monday night. Gaffney and Stallworth were among the five players the team released in cutting the roster down to the current league limit of 75. The team also released Tim Bulman and Gerard Warren. A source tells CSNNE's Mary Paoletti that Ross Ventrone was waived injured. Other moves the Patriots included sending tight end Jake Ballard and DL Myron Pryorto the ReservePhysically Unable to Perform list. Rookie free agent OL Markus Zusevics was placed on the ReserveNon Football Injury List. Those players are eligible to return after Week 6. Defensive back Will Allen, S Josh Barrett and FB Spencer Larsen were placed on injured reserve In addition, the Patriots claimed first-year WR Kerry Taylor. Taylor is a 6-foot, 196-pounder out of Arizona State who was on the practice squads of the 49ers and Vikings. The releases of Gaffney and Stallworth leave the Patriots with Brandon Lloyd, Wes Welker, Deion Branch, Jeremy Ebert, Julian Edelman, Jesse Holley and Matthew Slater on the roster. Patriots owner Robert Kraft opined that Stallworth could find his way back. "You never know what moving on means," said Kraft before the team's annual preseason gala. "This is a business where things change so you want to keep good relationships and you never know what can happen. Also, it's a business where you have a very limited budget. You have to be disciplined how you do things. People's skills fade or how they fit into your system is different. We might claim someone today who has some experience or may fit our system. A lot of variables, if I were a straight fanI wouldn't understand it. It's all about putting us in the best position to win."
FOXBORO -- Stephen Gostkowski is almost 34 years old, but in Mexico City he provided a reminder that he's not slowing down in his 12th NFL season.
After going four-for-four on field goals -- including a team-record 62-yarder, a 51-yarder and a 40-yarder -- and making all three of his extra points, Gostkowski was named AFC Special Teams Player of the Week for the sixth time in his career.
During a press conference on Wednesday, Bill Belichick explained that someone in Gostkowski's situation probably isn't improving at this point in his career. But if he's maintaining a strong level of play, that's OK.
"I don’t know how much real improvement you’re going to see from a player that’s been in the league 12 or 20 years in a case like Adam [Vinatieri] or somebody like that," Belichick said. "But, if the level they’re performing at is pretty good, if they can maintain that, then that’s certainly enough to help the team.
"Are there things that a player can do better? Yeah, sure, there always are technique things. I think Steve has really improved in some of his alternative kicks on kickoffs, as an example, instead of just kicking every ball as far as he can. He’s done a great job of that. I’d say it’s maintaining the timing and the overall leg speed and technique that makes kickers good at their job."
Former Patriots Randy Moss, Ty Law and Richard Seymour are among 27 semifinalists for the Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2018.
In January, selectors will reduce the list to 15 finalists, who will join seniors Robert Brazile and Jerry Kramer and contributor Bobby Beathard on the final ballot. The annual selection meeting will take place Feb.y 3, the day before Super Bowl LII.