Patriots release TE Ben Hartsock

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Veteran blocking tight end Ben Hartsock, who signed a one-year deal with the New England Patriots on Sunday, was released by the team on Thursday.

The release of Hartsock, who on Monday had talked about the Patriots being the quintessential role-playing team, leaves the Patriots thin at tight end at the moment. The top three players on the depth chart -- Rob Gronkowski, Michael Hoomanawanui and D.J. Williams -- are all either limited or not practicing because of health-relates issues. That will leave just Steve Maneri and fullback James Develin to handle tight-end type duties in Friday's preseason game against the Eagles, with undrafted free-agent Taylor McCuller also possibly getting into the mix.

The Patriots have shuffled personnel at the bottom of the tight end depth chart since Sunday, making a total of seven transactions at the position.

  1. Releasing undrafted free agent Justin Jones.

  2. Releasing undrafted free agent Asa Watson

  3. Signing Hartsock

  4. Signing Maneri

  5. Signing undrafted free agent Terrence Miller

  6. Waiving Miller with an injury designation

  7. Releasing Hartsock

The team now has one open spot on its 90-man roster.