The Patriots signed former New Hampshire tight end Kyle Auffray and released Maine wide receiver Derrick Johnson, who was not spotted at organized team activities Thursday.
Auffray, 27, played tight end and punter at UNH after transferring from Mississippi State, where he was set to play quarterback. He caught just four passes for 34 yards and one touchdown in 2011, his senior season with the Wildcats. He also punted 71 times for 2,679 yards.
Auffray clocked a 4.57-second 40-yard dash at the 2013 Super Regional Combine in Dallas and also had a 4.15-second short shuttle, 6.72-second three-cone and 34-inch vertical leap. The 6-foot-5, 252-pound tight end briefly joined the Arizona Cardinals but was cut during traning camp in 2013.
Auffray has been on the Patriots’ radar since 2013.
“The week of the draft before I signed with Arizona, I had a private workout with the New England Patriots,” Auffray told Cover32.com. “It was a very challenging workout, and at the end of the workout, (head coach) Bill Belichick walks over to me and told me, and his exact words were, ‘That was pretty impressive.’ For him, being a multi-Super Bowl-winning, Hall of Fame coach, to say that my skill set and my abilities were impressive kinda reinforced all the hard work and perseverance I’ve been through.”
Signing Auffray should have no bearing on whether the Patriots decide to sign veteran tight ends Dustin Keller or Jermichael Finley.
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