The Patriots released Underwood on Saturday, less than 24 hours before their Super Bowl showdown with the Giants. New England then promoted defensive end Alex Silvestro to the 53-man roster.
Underwood's release is shocking, mostly because of its timing. The 24-year-old wideout saw limited action with the Pats this season, but it's bizarre to see a player let go on the eve of the biggest game of the year, no matter what that player's role is on the team.
The Patriots have let go of players on the night before games in the past, but none of those transactions garnered the attention that Underwood's release has. The cut even led to speculation as to whether the move was disciplinary, although that doesn't seem to be the case.
Underwood's agent, Ethan Lock, told NESN.com's Jeff Howe that New England didn't provide an explanation as to why his client was cut. It could just be that the team felt an extra defensive lineman will be more valuable in this particular game. And with the focus solely on winning, the Patriots — as they always do — did what they felt was the best decision from a football standpoint.
Even though football is a business, though, it's tough to see a player who's worked so hard to help get the team to where it is get cut before the biggest game in all of sports — even if that player only caught three passes all year.
Adding more intrigue to the move is Underwood's recent haircut. The receiver had the Patriots' "Flying Elvis" logo shaved into the back of his head, which he then tweeted out to all of his Twitter followers.
Underwood also took to Twitter on Saturday to acknowledge the Patriots' decision to cut him. And while most would be fuming after such a move, Underwood handled it with nothing but class.
"Good Luck To The New [England] Organization, The Coaches, & All My Teammates… #PatsNation," he tweeted about a half hour after his release.