Notes: Samuel Returns, Roster Cuts Loom

NFL mandatory roster cuts began yesterday and are due by the close of business today. Teams must pare their rosters back to a 75-man limit to be in compliance. Players may be waived, moved to reserve/injured or remain on the reserve/PUP list to reach compliance. In other news, Asante Samuel is back and should fit into the lineup quickly by all accounts.

Samuel's Back

Asante Samuel is back in Foxboro, and that's the good news. The Patriots veteran cornerback returned from Florida on Monday and was put through the normal processing steps that all players go through when they report.

Although Samuel and the team did not officially reached an agreement prior to his return, according to a league source, the final details should be worked out quickly.

Patriots head coach addressed Samuel's return "Asante [Samuel] came to the facility this morning," Belichick said in Monday's press conference. "I spoke to him. He's going through the normal process that any player would go through at the beginning of camp in terms of taking the conditioning run and so forth."

Samuel missed the team's entire off-season program, choosing to work out on his own. It is not the first time Samuel worked out on his own rather than attend the team's conditioning program. It will be important to see how quickly Samuel can get back into football shape.

Samuel's return will allow the Patriots flexibility to move players around in the secondary, including rookie Brandon Meriweather who played corner much of the preseason. Belichick indicated it was a bit too early to tell what Samuel's return would mean for other players including Meriweather.

"Asante hasn't been on the practice field yet," Belichick remarked. "The first thing he's going to do is take his physical and then go through the normal process."

Randall Gay has held Samuel's spot for most of training camp. With Samuel back in the mix at left corner, Gay will most likely move over to the right side where Ellis Hobbs has lined up. Hobbs will probably move inside to cover the smaller shiftier slot receivers.

Injury Front Update

The Patriots did not get through the preseason without getting bit by the injury bug it seems. Cornerback Mike Richardson was seen with his arm in a sling after the Carolina game and was not present for Monday's full-pads practice. Eugene Wilson, who pulled up limping late in the first half of Friday's win, was also not present.

Other players reported missing from the start of Monday's practice were OL, Russ Hochstein; WR, Randy Moss; S, Rashad Baker; RB, Sammy Morris and DL Mike Wright.

Back at practice were TE, Kyle Brady, WR, Jabar Gaffney; RB, Kevin Faulk and DL, Ty Warren. Warren, Gaffney and Faulk all missed Friday's game. Brady had not been seen in full pads since suffering an undisclosed injury during training camp

Roster Cuts Loom

Today is the deadline for teams to reduce their rosters to a mandated 75-man limit. The restriction does not apply to players on the reserve/PUP, reserve/injured or other reserved lists.

The Patriots have five players still on the PUP list: DL, Richard Seymour; WR, Troy Brown; WR, Chad Jackson; TE, David Thomas and CB, Eddie Jackson. They also have two players who are on the reserve/injured list: RB, Justise Hairston and DB Chad Scott.

The Patriots have 81 players on the roster. New England needs all roster cuts by 4:00pm to be in compliance with today's mandatory cut down.

Final roster cuts are due September 1st. Teams must reduce their rosters to 53 active players at that time. They may add players to their practice squad after they clear waivers 24 hours later.

Practice squads are limited to 8 players and do not count against the 53-man limit. Players on the PUP List must be placed on the active roster or they will be unable to return until after week 6 of the regular season.

The practice squad is a likely destination for a number of the Patriots young players. With a logjam of veteran talent at a number of positions, players such as LB Corey Mays, OL Mike Elgin or DB Larry Anam are potential candidates for the practice squad.

Players who have appeared on the active game day roster less than 9 times in a season are eligible for the practice squad. Players have two, possibly three, season of eligibility for the practice squad.

Jon Scott has covered the NFL since 1995. He is a member of the Pro Football Writers of America and a long time contributor to the network. A New England native, Scott has followed the Patriots for over two decades and covered the team since 2001. He can be found in the Insider's Lounge under the handle JSinCT

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