New England releases DL Damione Lewis and OL Eric Ghiaciuc

With Saturday the deadline for NFL teams to cut their rosters down to the final 53 players, the New England Patriots announced that offensive lineman Eric Ghiaciuc and defensive lineman Damione Lewis have been released.  Tight ends Rob Myers and Carson Butler have been waived as well.

Lewis’ release is not a big surprise, seeing as he was working with the second unit and projected as the fifth defensive lineman on the depth chart in the best possible scenario. Following Lewis’ release, Patriots head coach Bill Belichick spoke highly of the ten year veteran. “I like a lot of things about Damione. He’s a solid guy, a good player, he worked hard, he’s smart. In the end, we felt like we had some other people ahead of him. That’s what it came down to.”

Ghiaciuc was viewed as the most experienced competitor in the battle for the backup center/guard position on the Patriots roster when he was signed during training camp. His release also comes as no shock either after the impressive play of second year offensive lineman Rich Ohrnberger, who started at right guard on Thursday night against the Giants.

Myers, a second year tight end from Utah State, spent time on the Patriots’ practice squad last season and could potentially return again if he clears waivers. Butler, also a second year tight end from Michigan, could return as a member of the eight man practice squad if he clears waivers as well.

All NFL teams must inform the league by 4 p.m. Eastern Saturday of their final cuts, and can sign players to their practice squad on Sunday. Even after the final cuts are made and practice squad assembled, Belichick indicated today that there could additional roster moves made before the Patriots begin preparations for next Sunday’s regular season opener versus Cincinnati. Presently, New England is at 71 players and has 18 more moves to go to get down to the final 53.

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