Here’s a look at this morning’s top stories.
Knighton Out – The writing appeared to be on the wall for defensive lineman Terrance Knighton after a preseason that saw him not get any snaps last Friday night, and on Monday the Patriots parted ways with the veteran, ending his short tenure in New England.
The team released him Monday, which follows up on the concerns he had after the game where he seemed surprised about his lack of snaps against the Panthers.
“You’re always concerned when you’re not playing,” he said via ESPN. “I prepared myself to play, the coaches made the decisions on who they wanted to play, and I’m not going to ask any questions or make any excuses or look for any explanation. I’m just going to get dressed, get back on the plane and see what happens.”
Bill Belichick addressed the move on Monday, saying that it was just one of those things that happens during what’s been a competitive training camp.
“Just didn’t work out,” Belichick told the media. “He came in, worked hard, lost weight, got in good condition, tried to do the things we asked him to do. Just other people ahead of him.”
The early release of Knighton gives the former Washington standout an opportunity to start exploring opportunities elsewhere, which is something Belichick has historically done for veterans he respects.
Knighton tweeted a good bye after the news, “Well it’s been real New England. The road continues.”
Stork Fails Physical, Nullifies Trade – After being acquired for a conditional draft pick by Washington last week, it looks like Bryan Stork won’t be landing with a new team after all.
According to published reports, Stork failed his physical for what would have been his new team, nullifying the trade that would have potentially yielded a conditional draft pick for the Patriots had Stork ended up in Washington.
The 25-year former Florida State lineman has had a rough run over his first two seasons in New England, suffering four reported concussions over that span after emerging as a starter up front on the offensive line.
He earned a lot of respect of the players around him, with a memorable article from January 2015 from Yahoo.com where he made Eric Edholm nervous after a seemingly harmless line of questioning was something Stork wasn’t interested in, setting up some uncomfortable moments.
But on the same day as that interview, Jimmy Garoppolo offered up some praise for Stork after he recalled meeting him in the Senior Bowl where they two played together.
“Well, we were in the Senior Bowl together,” Garoppolo said, “so I knew him before we were actually drafted here. But playing with him there, I realized … he’s a badass.”
“He’s a hard-nosed dude, and that’s what you want in your linemen,” said Garoppolo at the time about playing with him in New England. “Just getting in there, doing his job. You can’t ask for a better lineman than that.”
As for what his future holds, Stork had been mulling retirement so it remains to be seen what direction his career may take. He told the Tallahassee Democrat back in 2013 that when his playing days were over, he was hoping to buy a big piece of land out in the country somewhere, with a runway on it so he could fly planes and live in peace.
Thankfully after a relatively successful football career, hopefully he has the money to make that dream a reality should he decide his playing days are over.
Jackson is off to a rough start so far in 2016. (USA TODAY Images)
Jackson Heads to PUP – Guard Tre’ Jackson will start 2016 on the PUP list, which means he’ll miss at least the first six games of the regular season.
The second-year player out of Florida State started nine games while appearing in 13 during his rookie season and looked like he was poised to contend for a starting role in 2016. But so far he hadn’t been a full participant in practice and had just been seen doing conditioning and getting in light workouts during training camp, which obviously means he’s not quite healthy enough to factor into the Patriots immediate plans.
Jackson, who has a history of knee problems, suffered a knee injury during the middle of the season against Miami and seemingly escaped serious injury after the Boston Herald reported that his MRI came back negative. However after fighting through it, he ultimately missed both playoff games and underwent offseason knee surgery.
The move to PUP gives the Patriots an extra roster spot to start the year, as he won’t count against the official roster while he remains with that designation.
Cooper Returns – One quick bit of good news is that offensive guard Jonathan Cooper returned to practice on Monday for the first time since the beginning of camp. Cooper has reportedly been dealing with a plantar fascia condition in his foot, which he aggravated early on after being carted off the field and it’s hampered him ever since.
He joined Shaq Mason on the practice field on Monday for the warm-up period before heading down to the lower field to do some conditioning.
Cooper was part of the compensation the Patriots received from the Arizona Cardinals, with the hope that having him coached up by Dante Scarnecchia might see him finally live up to his potential. The veteran offensive lineman is a former 1st round pick for the Arizona Cardinals (7th overall) in 2013.
Mingo Enjoying Transition in New England – After playing in a 3-4 defensive alignment in Cleveland, Barkevious Mingo is enjoying getting back to his roots now that he’s joined the Patriots.
After being acquired from the Browns last week for a fifth-round pick in 2017, Mingo has been hard at work getting immersed in the Patriots’ defense. The Patriots play a 4-3 defense, which Mingo admitted is similar to the one he played at LSU. But he’s also excited about the fact he’s reunited with former Browns teammate Jabaal Sheard, who he told Boston.com has helped make him comfortable since he’s been here.
“Jabaal was there my first year and he carried me along that long, long year,” Mingo said. “Being back with him is definitely a huge relief.”
It seems to have been a good experience so far, with Mingo admitting that he’s gotten plenty of help from everyone since he’s been here as he continues getting acclimated with his new teammates.
“It’s hard. These guys got couple of months on me,” Mingo said. “It’s a challenge but the guys here they’re really helping me come along, pointing me in the right direction and just getting me ready to play.”