- Mike Reiss, ESPN Staff Writer
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The Patriots have made a surprising roster decision Wednesday, informing starting defensive tackle Kyle Love that he is being released with a non-football injury designation.
Love was recently diagnosed with Type-2 diabetes, according to his agent, Richard Kopelman of KLASS Sports.
“We have been informed by the New England Patriots that Kyle Love will be released NFI (Non-Football Injury/Illness),” Kopelman told ESPNBoston.com. “This comes on the heels of Kyle having been diagnosed within the past two weeks with Type-2 diabetes. Naturally, we are disappointed that the Patriots decided to part ways with Kyle, especially in light of the fact that a number of elite professional athletes with diabetes – both Type-1, which is known to be far more difficult to manage than Type-2 diabetes – have had very successful careers in professional football, hockey, baseball and basketball.
“Prior to the diagnosis, Kyle recently experienced unexplained weight loss, but since being diagnosed and having altered his diet, Kyle has regained most of the weight he lost, is in good health, and was not limited in any way during offseason workouts in which he was engaged up until being told he would be released.
“Having consulted with leading authorities on the effects of Type-2 diabetes, we have every reason to believe that Kyle will, in the immediate future, be at 100 percent, and will be prepared to participate in training camp in a couple of months. As Kyle said, 'there is no way something like this is going to stand between me and a long and successful NFL career.'”
Love started 11 games last season next to Vince Wilfork at defensive tackle in the team’s 4-3 alignment, playing 49 percent of the team’s defensive snaps. Toward the end of the season, Love split time as a starter with Brandon Deaderick, and Deaderick was released on Monday. Love enters his fourth NFL season in 2013.
Outside of Wilfork, the Patriots have almost completely turned over their personnel at defensive tackle, with free-agent signing Tommy Kelly and Canadian Football League import Armond Armstead the notable newcomers.
The 6-foot-1, 315-pound Love, who made the club as a rookie free agent in 2010, had been rewarded last year with a two-year contract extension that included a $500,000 signing bonus.
He played in 41 regular-season games over the last three seasons, with 25 starts, and was credited with 36 tackles and 5.5 sacks. His primary role was to occupy blockers so linebackers behind him could make plays, which he did as a 3-4 nose tackle and 4-3 defensive tackle. Love would often come off the field in passing situations.
Love is subject to waivers, meaning that any of the league's 31 teams can claim him. If Love isn't claimed, he will become an unrestricted free agent.