The Patriots announced that rookie inside linebacker Antonio Appleby has been released today.
Appleby was originally signed by New England as a rookie free agent out of Virginia on April 30, 2009.
The Patriots have had success with rookie free agents emerging (e.g. Randall Gay, Mike Wright, Pierre Woods, Gary Guyton), and some felt Appleby would be the next in line. Because he played in a 3-4 defense at Virginia under Al Groh, Appleby was projected to have a head start in his transition to the Patriots.
The Patriots have Jerod Mayo, Tedy Bruschi, Gary Guyton, Eric Alexander, Paris Lenon and Vinny Ciurciu as options at the position, with Mayo and Bruschi the returning starters.
Third-round draft choice Tyrone McKenzie was projected to help, but he tore his ACL in rookie minicamp and is expected to miss the season.