That was the team's intention Wednesday, when Stork was told early in the day that the club was moving on from him. Some players took the news hard, with quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo saying before practice, "It's tough. It's that time of year. There's a lot of movement between teams and players and everything, and it's tough to see one of your guys go like that. But that's the business, I guess."
With word of Stork's impending release reported by various news outlets but not yet official because the Patriots didn't have to submit it to the NFL until the 4 p.m. ET deadline, the center-needy Washington Redskins inquired about trading for Stork.
The sides quickly worked out a deal for the low price of a conditional seventh-round draft choice.
"We saw he was available, and we wanted to try to get a look at him without having to go through the claiming of the waiver wire," coach Jay Gruden said on ESPN's NFL Insiders program. "We're going to get a look at him, hopefully. If he decides to play, that would be great -- we'll get him a physical and see what he can do."
Stork didn't report immediately, as he pondered his NFL future while absorbing the shock of the Patriots' moving on from him.
It wasn't until Saturday night that Stork decided to report, tweeting: "I will forever have nothing but great memories at [the Patriots]. Looking forward to making more [with the Redskins]."
That tweet has since been deleted. Stork, as it turns out, failed his physical with Washington.
"It’s disappointing. I’m sure he’s disappointed. We’re disappointed, but it happens every year,” Gruden said after Monday’s practice. “When people get traded or picked up, they have to pass physicals, and every physical is different. Until all that gets taken care of -- they report, they pass a physical -- as a coach, there’s really not a lot you can do until they actually get into the pads and into practice. It’s unfortunate. He’s a great kid and, obviously, a very good player. ... Every physical is different on every team, so it might be different somewhere else, but it didn’t work out here."
With word leaking that Stork had failed the physical, Bill Belichick was asked about the situation at his Monday news conference. Any time a player fails a physical, his rights revert back to the team that traded him.
"I don’t know if that’s official. That sounds like the way it is going to go," Belichick said. "We’ll find out exactly what the story is, and whenever that is, we’ll make the best decision that we can."
The decision turned out to be releasing Stork later in the day, which was the intention all along.