Report: Tommy Kelly, Will Smith, James Anderson Released By Patriots

The New England Patriots released three defensive players Sunday, per ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

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Kelly was acquired by New England before the 2013 NFL season to provide defensive line depth, but he was lost for the year in November because of a knee injury. His absence, along with the season-ending injury to former All-Pro defensive tackle Vince Wilfork, really hurt the Patriots’ run defense.

Anderson played 16 games with the Chicago Bears in 2013 after spending the previous seven seasons with the Carolina Panthers.

Smith was hoping to make the Patriots as a defensive end, but the 11-year veteran didn’t make much of an impact in the first three preseason games. He did not play in 2013 because of a knee injury.

The Patriots wrap up the preseason Thursday night against the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium.