The New England Patriots made a couple of interesting moves on Wednesday, cutting defensive lineman Gerard Warren and signing tight end Dan Gronkowski, the brother of current Pats tight end Rob Gronkowski.
Dan Gronkowski is Rob's older brother and one of three Gronkowski brothers to have played in the NFL. Chris Gronkowski was recently cut by the Cowboys and claimed by the Colts. Dan Gronkowski was released by the Broncos.
The Patriots also announced the release of cornerback Darius Butler, which was confirmed by Butler on Tuesday, and the acquisition of linebacker A.J. Edds off waivers from the Miami Dolphins, which ESPNBoston.com reported late Tuesday.
The Charlotte Observer reported on Tuesday that Butler was claimed by the Panthers.
Warren originally joined the Patriots in late April of last year and played in all 16 games for New England last season. He made 28 tackles and had 3½ sacks.
As a vested veteran, Warren's full salary would have been guaranteed if he was on the roster for the first week of the season. Asked if Warren is the type of player that could land back on the roster later this season, Patriots coach Bill Belichick said simply: "Sure," while acknowledging Warren had a competitive camp.
Dan Gronkowski, whose imminent acquisition was tweeted Tuesday by two of his brothers, is a 6-foot-6, 255-pound tight end out of Maryland. He was drafted by Detroit in the seventh round (255th overall) of the 2009 draft. He appeared in two games for the Lions that year, then spent 14 games with the Denver Broncos in 2010 (catching eight passes for 65 yards).
"You're grateful to have brothers in the league, and then when it comes down to it, and you have a brother on the same team, that's awesome," Rob Gronkowski said. "It's a lot more support, and a lot more intensity we can bring out in each other because we know each other like that. It's going to be a lot of fun."
Dan Gronkowski is predominantly a blocking tight end and fills a void for New England. The Patriots previously had just two tight ends on their roster after releasing Will Yeatman and Lee Smith at the final roster cutdown.
Both Belichick and quarterback Tom Brady said Dan Gronkowski will have some familiarity with the Patriots system after spending time with former Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels in Denver.
"We felt like he's a good addition to our team offensively and he has some playing time in the kicking game," Belichick said.
Brady joked about the Gronkowski brothers giving each other headlocks in the locker room, but he said he is excited about the addition.
"[Dan Gronkowski] seems like he's excited to be here," Brady said. "I think the two brothers were giving each other headlocks in the locker room [Tuesday]. They are excited. He's a nice guy, mature and has some familiarity with what we've done being with [former Patriots offensive coordinator] Josh [McDaniels] last year. The more good players we have, the better the football team we'll be."
The 6-foot-4, 244-pound Edds played at Iowa along with current Patriots rookie Jeff Tarpinian. He was a fourth-round draft choice of the Dolphins in 2010 and spent his rookie season on injured reserve after tearing his ACL in training camp.
"He played outside linebacker at Iowa, then went down to Miami [in 2009] and played inside," Belichick said. "He had a pretty good training camp but then injured his knee. ... He can play inside and outside [linebacker], he plays in the kicking game, and he can long snap."
Edds led the Dolphins with 18 tackles this preseason, while adding a sack. The Patriots don't have much depth at long snapper.
In explaining the decision to waive Edds, Dolphins coach Tony Sparano said the team simply had too many linebackers. "We had 10 linebackers on the roster at that particular time and we weren't going to carry 10 linebackers right at that time," he said.
Information from ESPNBoston.com's Mike Reiss and Chris Forsberg was used in this report.