Underwood’s agent, Ethan Lock, told NESN.com the Patriots did not give him an explanation for why Underwood was cut. Defensive end Alex Silvestro was promoted to the 53-man roster from the practice squad.
Underwood, who was at Lucas Oil Stadium on Saturday for the team photo, shaved the Patriots’ “Flying Elvis” logo into his high-top fade before traveling to Indianapolis for the Super Bowl.
The timing of Saturday’s release means the Giants cannot sign Underwood, who won’t clear waivers until Monday. It’s brutal to be cut this close to the Super Bowl, but if the Patriots did it earlier in the week, Underwood could have signed with the Giants.
About a half hour after the release, Underwood tweeted, “Good Luck To The New [England] Organization, The Coaches, & All My Teammates… #PatsNation.”
At this point, it’s not known why the Patriots cut Underwood, but there are several possibilities. It could have been a disciplinary measure, though that seems unlikely since Underwood was present for the team photo.
And while it’s tough to do from an emotional standpoint, it could have been as simple as a business decision. The Patriots could have just determined they needed more depth along the defensive line than at wide receiver.
Also, there was an illness circulating through the locker room this week. Left tackle Matt Light and right tackle Sebastian Vollmer each had the flu, and linebacker Jerod Mayo had a cold. It’s possible the illness hit someone on the defensive line, which would create a need to add Silvestro for depth purposes.