The Patriots have released veteran defensive lineman Damione Lewis, ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter reports.
The move is not necessarily a big surprise, as Lewis was working with the second unit and projected as the fifth, sixth or seventh lineman on the depth chart.
Yet Lewis's standing on the team seemed to be helped by the club's injury situation along the defensive line. The Patriots dressed just five linemen for their preseason finale (including Lewis), with backups Ron Brace, Myron Pryor and Brandon Deaderick all held out of action.
Sometimes teams release veterans before the final cutdown day and then bring them back after the first game so they don't have to guarantee a full season's salary, so perhaps the Patriots have that in mind with Lewis, who was making the transition to the 3-4 defense for the first time in his 10-year career.
On Aug. 13, Patriots coach Bill Belichick said of Lewis: "He's a smart guy and a very experienced guy and he's been able to make the adjustments to our system and our style of play. ... I think Damione is working hard, coming along, making good progress in our system, I think he's in pretty good condition. I think he can help us this year."
A look at the projected defensive line depth chart:
LDE: Gerard Warren/Ron Brace
NT: Vince Wilfork/Myron Pryor
RDE: Mike Wright/Gerard Warren/Brandon Deaderick