FOXBOROUGH -- Russ Hochstein's agent, Joe Linta, confirmed that his client has been traded by the Patriots to the Denver Broncos today.
Russ Hochstein (Globe File Photo)
A league source confirmed the deal was for a late-round pick.
Linta said Hochstein, who had been with the Patriots since 2002, was surprised by the news, but said that Denver was a great landing spot for Hochstein, who is from Hartington, Neb., because it is close to his home and he is familiar with Broncos coach Josh McDaniels, the Patriots former offensive coordinator.
"If Russ had to go anywhere it's Denver because it's close to his home and he is friendly with Josh and he has his buddies Lonie Paxton and Brandon Gorin there," said Linta. "If he had to go anywhere that's where he'd go. "Obviously, he had a great relationship with the whole Patriots organization. It's tough, but he has a good chance to extend his career out there."
Linta acknowlegded that the versatile Hochstein, who has played guard, center and even fullback for the Patriots, was caught up in a little bit of a numbers game because of the depth the Patriots have along the offensive line.
"They got several good linemen and somebody is not making it and somebody good besides him is not making it," said Linta. "I don't know that he wouldn't have made it, but if you can get something for someone on the bubble that is the whole idea of trades this time of year."
ESPN's Adam Schefter first reported details of the trade via Twitter. Hochstein was not present when the Patriots practiced this afternoon outside Gillette Stadium.
The Patriots signed Hochstein to their practice squad in October 2002 after he was released by the Buccaneers, who had drafted him in the fifth round in 2001. He initially bounced between the practice squad and active roster, but proved to be a valuable member of the offensive line, starting eight regular-season games at center during the 2005 season (when Dan Koppen was injured) and 10 games overall at guard (including a career-high eight in the 2007 season).
What's more, Hochstein further showcased his versatility by starting at fullback for the final two games of the 2008 season and often appeared as a third tight end in power packages.
Hochstein appeared in 91 total games for New England over seven seasons and had been one of just eight current Patriots to have played in 90 or more games entering the 2009 campaign.
The Patriots previously shipped defensive lineman Le Kevin Smith to Denver in exchange for a 2009 fifth-round pick, which will likely head to Oakland as part of compensation for the Derrick Burgess trade.
(This entry was originally posted at 1:13 p.m. It was updated to confirm the trade at 2:40 p.m. Read analysis from the Globe's Mike Reiss HERE.)