- Mike Reiss, ESPN Staff Writer
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The Patriots have informed starting defensive tackle Kyle Love that he will be released with a non-football injury designation. Similar to the release of defensive tackle Brandon Deaderick on Monday, the Patriots’ decision to cut ties with Love was a mild surprise.
It was clear that Love was going to face increased competition for a roster spot given the free-agent additions of veteran Tommy Kelly and Canadian Football League import Armond Armstead. So if Love hadn’t made the roster coming out of training camp, it wouldn’t necessarily have been a "didn't see that coming" shocker. But the timing of the release, in mid-May, registers as a surprise, and comes shortly after Love had been diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes.
At one time, Love represented a great underdog story with the Patriots.
He made the club as a rookie free agent in 2010, playing 14 percent of the defensive snaps his first season while outperforming the more highly touted Ron Brace (2009 second-round pick). Then Love upped his workload to 50 percent of the snaps in his second season, showing promise as a hold-the-fort 3-4 nose tackle and 4-3 defensive tackle. His run-stuffing presence, in part, helped the Patriots move Vince Wilfork to end to address a trouble spot at times.
Then, in August 2012, the Patriots and Love reached a two-year contract extension with a $500,000 signing bonus, and his future with the club appeared bright. But down the stretch of last season, the coaching staff began to limit his playing time in favor of Deaderick.
The Patriots will have two open roster spots once they officially release Love, and could potentially look to fill one of them with a defensive tackle.
Defensive tackle depth chart