Former Terps lineman Joe Vellano makes Patriots roster (Update: A.J. Francis too)

September 1, 2013

UPDATE: Well that didn’t take long. Per his Twitter bio and other reports, A.J. Francis was picked up by the New England Patriots, and will reunite with Joe Vellano. The original post is below.

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Of all the 2012 Maryland football players attempting to latch onto NFL rosters, the most decorated among them survived the longest. Joe Vellano, the former all-American defensive lineman, was the only player from his class to last beyond final cuts.

The New England Patriots have been thin this preseason along the defensive line, and Vellano, an undrafted free agent, impressed enough to earn the third defensive tackle job.

 

Boston.com’s Erik Frenz slots Vellano as the backup left defensive tackle behind Tommy Kelly, after beating out Marcus Forston for the job. But, Frenz writes that “it wouldn’t be a shock for the Patriots to make a move at defensive tackle sometime in the next few days.”

Vellano’s former teammates were not as fortunate. Fullback Devonte Campbell was waived by the Atlanta Falcons on Aug. 25. Tight end Matt Furstenburg, who had a strong camp in Baltimore and appeared headed for a roster spot at a weak position for the Ravens, received his release on Saturday. According to the Baltimore Sun, citing anonymous sources, the Ravens “would like to sign Furstenburg to the practice squad Sunday if he clears waivers.”

Linebacker Darin Drakeford (Kansas City Chiefs) and defensive lineman A.J. Francis (Miami Dolphins) were also cut when the rosters reduced to 53 players. ESPN.com named Francis as a strong practice-squad candidate, not ruling out that another team could scoop him off waivers, too. The Sun-Sentinel’s Omar Kelly was “shocked” Francis got released.

Wide receiver Kevin Dorsey, the only class of 2012 Terp to be drafted, was waived in Green Bay’s cutdown to 75 players. Dorsey had dealt with hamstring and toe injuries during preseason camp, so according to ESPN Wisconsin he will remain on injured reserve “until an injury settlement is negotiated.”

Alex Prewitt covers the Washington Capitals. Follow him on Twitter @alex_prewitt or email him at alex.prewitt@washpost.com.
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