NFL Nation: Ross Ventrone

Cody Wallace fined twice by the NFL

December, 13, 2013
12/13/13
4:28
PM ET
PITTSBURGH -- Cody Wallace's first career start proved to be a costly one.

Wallace
Wallace
The NFL fined the Pittsburgh Steelers center a total of nearly $18,000 from last Sunday’s game against the Dolphins for two separate incidents, including one in which he hit Dolphins defensive tackle Randy Starks in the groin at the bottom of a pile.

Starks had recovered a Ben Roethlisberger fumble and Wallace engaged in the kind of activity that frequently happens at the bottom of piles. But his transgression happened in full view, and a video of it went viral.

It cost Wallace $7,875 for unnecessary roughness, and a late hit near the end of the game cost the fourth-year veteran $10,000.

A couple of other Steelers tidbits:
  • Polamalu
    Ventrone
    Troy Polamalu might not have the best hair in the Steelers' locker room anymore. Or even in the defensive backs’ meeting room. The Steelers signed safety Ross Ventrone to their practice squad, and Ventrone rivals Polamalu in one area: he has a healthy head of hair, and his locks flow out of the back of his helmet. Ventrone was with the Steelers during training camp and preseason practice. He is a local product, having played his high school ball at Chartiers Valley in suburban Pittsburgh.
  • Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has been named the team’s Walter Payton Man of the Year. The award, named after the late, great Chicago Bears running back, recognizes excellence both on and off the field, and there is one winner from every team. The overall winner will be announced before the Super Bowl in February. Roethlisberger, who became the Steelers’ all-time leader in touchdown passes last Sunday (213) is active in a number of different charities. His eponymous foundation has donated grants to police and fire departments that exceed $1 million. Roethlisberger is also active in Make-A-Wish of Greater Pennsylvania, and his foundation recently donated $30,000 to the organization.

Tedy's take on Tebow's chances

August, 30, 2013
8/30/13
5:15
PM ET
Caught up with ESPN NFL analyst Tedy Bruschi today for some advance planning and at the end of the conversation, the question was asked, “What do you think will happen with Tim Tebow?”

This is how he answered, which we decided to pass along here (with Tedy's go-ahead):

"I could envision a scenario where he is initially cut and not on the 53-man roster, but he comes back at another point down the line. Maybe multiple times, sort of like they did one year with Ross Ventrone. He was on the roster. He was off the roster. He was on the roster. He was off the roster. It sort of depended on the overall health of the team that week if the Patriots could keep Ventrone or had to go in another direction. Receiver Deion Branch has been in that situation, to a lesser degree. I could see Tebow being that guy this season as people in the organization would like to see him around and see if he can continue to be developed."
Check here for a complete list of the New England Patriots‘ roster moves.

Surprise move: There was plenty of speculation about safety Brandon Meriweather's future after he played into the fourth quarter with the second unit in Thursday’s exhibition finale against the New York Giants, but it was still a surprise when the Patriots outright released the former first-round pick (24th overall in the 2007 draft) on Saturday. After releasing veteran James Sanders as part of the previous cutdowns, the Patriots further turned over that position, waving goodbye to a player who’s been to the Pro Bowl in each of the past two seasons.

The team also raised some eyebrows by releasing defensive end Eric Moore, a starter at season’s end last year, but the additions of veterans such as Mark Anderson and Shaun Ellis on the defensive line made him expendable. Wide receiver Brandon Tate, who was the team’s primary kick returner and No. 3 receiver last year, got edged by more versatile bodies, and veteran running back Sammy Morris was a victim of an influx of young talent at running back.

No-brainers: First-year players like offensive lineman Thomas Austin, running back Eric Kettani, and defensive back Ross Ventrone, as well as rookies linebacker Markell Carter, defensive lineman Aaron Lavarias, defensive end Alex Silvestro, tight end Lee Smith and tight end Will Yeatman were longer shots to make the roster. The release of two young tight ends (Smith and Yeatman) is a bit surprising given New England’s love of three tight-end sets and no pure fullback. (Could veteran Alge Crumpler be on the radar?)

What’s next: The Patriots are certainly in the market for safety help, and with backup guard Rich Ohrnberger placed on season-ending injured reserve, the team is thin on the interior line. Remember that this team rarely sits idle after cutdowns. Expect the Patriots to tweak their roster further based on what becomes available from cutdowns across the league.

Patriots end Torry Holt's season

August, 15, 2010
8/15/10
5:59
PM ET
Torry Holt's season -- and perhaps his career -- is over.

Holt
Holt
The New England Patriots placed the prolific receiver on injured reserve Sunday because of a bad knee. At 34 years old and with declining production, this could be the end for Holt.

"It's a great disappointment for Torry," Holt's agent, Kennard McGuire, told ESPNBoston.com's Mike Reiss. "He saw this as a terrific chance to play with another great quarterback and being coached by one of the all-time greats."

Numbers indicated Holt would have a difficult time making the roster anyway. Randy Moss, Wes Welker and Julian Edelman are locks. Top draft picks Brandon Tate and Taylor Price have had solid summers.

Holt is a seven-time Pro Bowler with 920 receptions (11th all-time) for 13,382 yards (10th all-time) and 74 touchdowns (tied for 27th all-time).

With a spot open on the roster, the Patriots brought back recently released receiver Buddy Farnham.

In other roster news, the Patriots released rookie defensive back Ross Ventrone and signed undrafted rookie offensive lineman Brian Simmons.

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