The New England Patriots have waived rookie kicker Justin Rohrwasser, whose controversial tattoos generated attention after the team selected him in the fifth round of the NFL Draft (No. 159 overall).
Rohrwasser, who kicked at the University of Rhode Island and then Marshall, was competing with veteran Nick Folk in camp. The Patriots signed Folk a week into training camp, which was the first indication that Rohrwasser was on shaky ground.
The Patriots also released Folk on Saturday. But that could be a procedural move with the intention to bring him back after moving another player to injured reserve.
Rohrwasser was the first overall kicker selected in the draft, as the Patriots made it a priority to identify a possible replacement for longtime veteran Stephen Gostkowski, who they had released. But the focus on Rohrwasser quickly turned from his kicking to his tattoos, as he was questioned by reporters about a mark on his arm associated with "The Three Percenters" -- a right-wing militia group.
Rohrwasser, 23, said he got the tattoos as a teenager to show his support for the military. He later said he planned to have it removed, adding, "It's shameful I had it on there ignorantly."
Rohrwasser wore long sleeves throughout training camp, and the club didn't make him available to speak with reporters. Coach Bill Belichick also hinted Rohrwasser might have been dealing with an injury early in camp, which explained why he was seldom kicking.
On Friday, Belichick had described the gap between Rohrwasser and Folk as "pretty close."
The Patriots also released veteran running back Lamar Miller on Saturday as part of moves to reduce the roster to 53 players.