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Patriots inform LB Darius Fleming of his release

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- The New England Patriots informed fourth-year linebacker Darius Fleming, who made headlines before the team's playoff win over the Kansas City Chiefs in January by rescuing a trapped motorist out of a smoking car, that he is being released.

Fleming posted a goodbye message on Instagram:

The 6-foot-2, 250-pound Fleming projected to compete for a backup role at linebacker and on special teams in 2016. He had appeared in 11 regular-season games for the team during the last two years, splitting time between the practice squad and active roster.

By releasing him now, the Patriots relayed to Fleming that it gives him a chance to hook on with another team at a time of rapid player movement.

Fleming, 26, entered the NFL as a fifth-round draft choice of the 49ers in 2012.