Schefter: Banta-Cain to be released

The Patriots have informed outside linebacker Tully Banta-Cain that he will be released, according to ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter.

Banta-Cain underwent surgery last Friday for an abdominal injury and was expected to have a 4-5 week recovery time. Banta-Cain could be released as soon as Thursday at 4:01 p.m., when the NFL re-opens waivers.

ESPNBoston.com's Mike Reiss reported, according to a source, that Banta-Cain had sustained the injury last season, and in meeting with team doctors at the end of the year, it was decided that no surgery was required. But Banta-Cain tweaked the injury in recent workouts, the source said.

Banta-Cain, one of the Patriots' top pass-rushers, enters his ninth NFL season. He played in 15 games in 2010, with six starts, and was second on the team with five sacks. His role was mostly as a pass-rusher in specialty packages.

In 2009, Banta-Cain proved to be one of the best NFL bargains in free agency, joining New England on a modest one-year contract and finishing with 10 sacks. The Patriots inked him to a three-year extension last offseason and Banta-Cain was scheduled to earn a base salary of $2.3 million in 2011, with a salary cap charge more than $4 million.