Patriots waive injured LB Fletcher

The Patriots have waived injured linebacker Dane Fletcher today, per an NFL source.

Fletcher, who injured his knee in the preseason opener, would revert back to the team's injured reserve list if he goes unclaimed. Coach Bill Belichick said last week that Fletcher “might be out for a while” and that “it doesn’t look very good.”

Fletcher projected as a top backup linebacker for the Patriots this season, as well as a core special teams player. He played in 22 percent of the defensive snaps last season. After Fletcher sustained the knee injury in the preseason opener, Belichick said, "It's unfortunate because he's worked hard. He had a really good offseason and training camp."

Earlier this offseason, the Patriots claimed injured tight end Jake Ballard on waivers from the Giants. It's possible another team could see promise in Fletcher and do the same, perhaps with the 2013 season in mind.

By waiving Fletcher and receiver Britt Davis, the Patriots create two roster spots. With injuries at various points on the roster, the Patriots might feel they need the spots for other players.