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Patriots sign rookie TE Evan Landi; Release DL Jason Vega

 

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – The New England Patriots announced that they have signed rookie TE Evan Landi. In addition, the Patriots announced that they have released first-year DL. 

Landi, 23, was originally signed by Tampa Bay as a rookie free agent out of South Florida on April 29, 2013, but was released on June 4, 2013. The 6-foot-3, 236-pounder, played in 46 games at South Florida with 26 starts and finished his career with 72 receptions for 846 yards and three touchdowns. Landi played receiver and quarterback as well during his college career. 

Vega, 26, was originally signed by the Patriots on Feb. 19, 2013. Vega is a native of Brockton, Mass., and played college football at Northeastern. The 6-foot-4, 255-pounder, played for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers of the Canadian Football League in 2011 and 2012, registering 66 tackles and 12 sacks in two seasons.

 

Patriots sign CB LeQuan Lewis and release rookie free agent TE Brandon Ford

 

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – The New England Patriots announced that they have signed CB LeQuan Lewis and released rookie free agent TE Brandon Ford.

Lewis, 24, played in eight NFL games in 2012 with three games on the Dallas Cowboys and five games with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The 5-foot-11, 190-pounder, originally entered the NFL as a rookie free agent with Tennessee out of Arizona State in 2011. Lewis was released by Tennessee following training camp and spent the season out of football. He spent part of the 2012 offseason with Oakland before being signed by the New York Jets in August. Lewis spent time on the Jets practice squad before being signed to the Dallas 53-man roster, where he played in three games, registering one tackle. After being released by Dallas, Lewis rotated between the Tampa Bay practice squad and 53-man roster, playing in five games and registering three tackles and one interception. Lewis was signed by Chicago in February of 2013 and was released on May 13, 2013. 

Ford, 23, was signed by New England as a rookie free agent out of Clemson on May 3, 2013. The 6-foot-3, 237-pounder, served as a backup tight end in 2010 and 2011 before earning a starting position in 2012 where he finished with 40 receptions for 480 yards and eight touchdowns. Ford finished his college career with 12 touchdowns, which tied a school record for most receiving touchdowns by a tight end. 

Training camp ends on positive note
 

Like skittish investors selling their stocks, the football world – Patriot Nation and Las Vegas odds-makers in particular – had been in a 24-hour state of panic when  Tom Brady collapsed on the field, clutching his left knee Wednesday. A day later, the market rebounded strongly. 

Brady returned to action for New England’s final training camp practice of 2013, a walk-through session with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, their opponent in Friday night’s preseason game at Gillette Stadium. 

Unlike yesterday, the QB was wearing a brace on his left knee, which he reportedly sprained after getting tangled up with teammate  Nate Solder . Brady has worn a brace regularly on that same knee the past several years after injuring it in 2008.

Afterward, there was clearly a sense of relief among Brady’s teammates, including Solder, who spoke to reporters for the second straight day.

“Yeah, it’s good that he’s OK. We’re moving on now. He’s a tough guy, he didn’t make a big deal about it,” chuckled Solder.

A reporter asked if Solder had a restless night worrying about what he’d inadvertently done to his teammate. Solder responded, “I didn’t let it affect my sleep. It’s part of the game.”

Running back  Stevan Ridley  conceded that he was a bit unnerved at first.

“It was a scary moment, but with Tom I know he is a competitor. I know he's going to do whatever to get out there. That’s our leader ... we ride with Tom Brady all the way. And every time somebody goes down like that, everything stops.”

“It wasn’t like the talk of the whole locker room,” countered defensive back  Devin McCourty . “Tom was okay and we went about our day.” 

So, the hubbub may have been overblown, in retrospect?

“Oh, that’s not for me to say,” laughed McCourty. “You [media] do your job. I think it’s great. Fans get a good kick out of it. I think there were probably a lot of fans at home yesterday pulling their hair out.”

Brady was the last player to leave the field Thursday. He was enjoying some not-so-private time with his wife and their children, who were being filmed the whole time by gawking members of the media. Brady ran around and played catch with the kids, then sat for a long while with his wife at the far end of the field. 

When he finally headed for the locker room, he passed by the media throng and proclaimed himself fine, health-wise. 

“See you guys tomorrow,” he smiled.

Those four words may have made most every Patriots fan’s day, although there was one youngster who was treated to an even more intimate experience with the QB.

Eduardo Martinez, through the Make-A-Wish and Patriots Charitable Foundations, was given the chance to suit up in a Patriots uniform and line up as a running back behind Brady on the team’s final play of practice against the Buccaneers defense. Brady handed the ball off to Martinez, who chugged his way some 20 yards into the end zone, where he was swarmed by players from both teams.

And with that happy moment, the Patriots joint practices with Tampa Bay came to a close. This also marked the team’s final public training camp practice of 2013. From now on, all practices will be open only to the media.

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