NFL: Patriots cut WR Joey Galloway, TE Michael Matthews
By HOWARD ULMAN
AP Sports Writer
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — Joey Galloway’s brief stint with the New England Patriots ended Tuesday when the 15-year veteran wide receiver was released two days before the team leaves for London to play his former club.
Galloway struggled with the offensive system and was inactive the last three games after catching just seven passes in the first three.
“He’s had a great career and this is one of those things that just didn’t work out,” coach Bill Belichick said. “I don’t think it’s anybody’s fault or anything that you just pinpoint.”
The Patriots play Sunday against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers where Galloway, 37, spent the past five seasons. He was the eighth player drafted in 1995 and spent five years with Seattle before playing four with Dallas.
He caught 689 passes, which was eighth among active receivers, for 10,777 yards and 77 touchdowns.
New England also released third-string tight end Michael Matthews. He played the past four games after being traded by the New York Giants for a conditional draft choice in 2011 that the Patriots can keep because the undisclosed conditions were not met, Belichick said.
“He came in late and started learning the stuff from the start of the regular season after missing all training camp” with the Patriots, Belichick said.
Those roster spots probably won’t be filled before Friday, he said.
Two possibilities for those are tackle Mark LeVoir, who was on the physically unable to perform list, and wide receiver Brandon Tate, who was on the non-football injury list. Both participated in Tuesday’s practice, a walkthrough, and must be activated within 21 days or go on a list that would keep them from playing the rest of the season.
They’re almost certain to be back during those 21 days, but Belichick indicated it wouldn’t happen this week.
“I don’t know if a player, after a couple of days of practice, is going to be ready to play,” he said. “It’s a possibility, but I think it’s a lot to ask.”
The status of linebacker Adalius Thomas and running back Sammy Morris also was uncertain for Sunday’s game.
Thomas, a healthy scratch in Sunday’s 59-0 win over the Tennessee Titans for the first time since his rookie year in 2000, practiced Tuesday.
Asked if he was leaning toward activating him Sunday, Belichick said, “as we always do, we’ll activate the players that we feel give us the best chance to win this game.”
Morris didn’t return after hurting his left knee on the Patriots’ third offensive play against the Titans. Is Belichick confident he’ll play again this season?
“Sure,” he said. “If the player wasn’t going to be back during the season, then we’d place him on injured reserve.”
With Fred Taylor having missed the last two games following ankle surgery, the Patriots could be down to three running backs — Laurence Maroney, Kevin Faulk and BenJarvus Green-Ellis — against the Buccaneers.
“We’ve gone into games with three running backs before,” Belichick said.
It’s the game that counts more for Belichick than the Wembley Stadium venue as the NFL widens its visibility with its third game in London.
“I’m sure it’ll be something we’ll all remember,” Belichick said, but “I’m just trying to coach a team. I’m not trying to solve the world’s problems.”