Patriots Parting Ways With Tully Banta-Cain?

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Patriots Parting Ways With Tully Banta-Cain? The day after a 59-0 win should be spent relaxing, one might think, especially with a trip to London on deck for this coming week.

But Monday was not a peaceful day for Patriots defensive lineman/linebacker Tully Banta-Cain, according to both the Dallas Morning News and NBC Sports, who claim that the 29-year-old Cal alum has been released by the team.

Banta-Cain had three tackles in the Patriots' throttling of the Titans on Sunday and has three sacks — tied for the team lead — and 13 total tackles through six games this season. He has even started two games for the New England defense.

"Why did this move happen, if it did?" asks the Boston Herald's "Rap Sheet" blog.

"It's not clear," it continues. "Banta-Cain had been playing well, being utilized mostly as a third-down pass-rusher, but recently expanding his role to stand up in the 3-4. On the heels of the benching of Adalius Thomas against the Titans, it's two shockers in a row."

According to the Herald, it's entirely possible that the Pats will soon bring Banta-Cain back. In fact, it would make considerably more sense if the move were simply procedural or part of some contractual clause or situation.

It remains a possibility that there's a trade-related rationale for Banta-Cain's release, especially with the NFL trade deadline approaching on Tuesday afternoon. But Patriots coach Bill Belichick did tell WEEI on Monday that he would be "surprised" if there was a trade.

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