FOXBOROUGH — Of the 13 rookies the Patriots are expected to have on their active roster for Sunday’s season opener against the Bills, the biggest surprise might be the punter.
Not entirely because of who Ryan Allen is, but because of the player he replaced. Zoltan Mesko, though far from being the face of the Patriots franchise, had carved out a considerable niche in his three seasons: dependable punter, locker room jokester, charitable titan. Rarely, if ever, did Mesko miss an opportunity to lend his support to a civic cause.
But competition is part of everyday life in the NFL, and when the Patriots brought Allen to training camp, few fans initially noticed. When he kept hanging around, more fans noticed. Now that he has made the team, bumping Mesko, everyone will notice when Allen takes the field in Buffalo. Full story for BostonGlobe.com subscribers.