The writing seemed to be on the wall for Terrance Knighton on Friday night in Carolina. He stood on the Patriots sidelines in full uniform, ready to play in New England's third preseason game of the summer, yet he never got in. After the game he admitted he was disappointed, and he said he had not been told one way or the other whether or not he would play.
Less than three days later, on his Twitter feed, Knighton announced that he had been released.
Knighton was signed to a one-year deal with $900,000 in base salary and $250,000 guaranteed this offseason. Listed at 355 pounds, Knighton's weight has been an issue at times in his career, but he seemed to be open to recent changes to his diet, and he noted at different points that he was willing to put in extra work in order to ensure that he was in the type of condition the Patriots desired. The team even provided Knighton with an in-home chef in order to help ease his transition to New England.
When asked about Knighton following Friday's game, Patriots coach Bill Belichick indicated that Knighton was still working to pick up on some of the techniques that the team was trying to teach him. He also noted that the coaching staff wanted to see some of its younger players work on the interior of the defensive line since Knighton had played 18 snaps against the Bears the week prior.
"Some new techniques, some new things...different things than what he's used to doing," Belichick said. "We played the younger guys tonight. We didn't get as much of a look at him as some other players. He played a little more last week. I think there's good competition at that position. We'll just have to see how it all plays out."
Knighton tweeted his appreciation for Belichick and Patriots owner Robert Kraft following his release saying, "I learned some things from my time there."
There were points during Patriots training camp that Knighton saw reps with projected starting defensive tackle Malcom Brown, but on a more consistent basis he was subbed in after Brown, Alan Branch or Markus Kuhn took the field. That trio, along with rookie third-round pick Vincent Valentine, undrafted rookie Woodrow Hamilton, Joe Vellano and penetrating defensive tackle Anthony Johnson all remain on the Patriots roster.
Belichick and his staff need to reduce their number of players to 75 by 4 p.m. on Aug. 30. After Knighton's release, the Patriots have five more names to trim from their active roster to get there.