A player who hasn’t appeared in a football game of any sort in 5 1/2 years tried out for the New England Patriots on Thursday.
Paul Quessenberry is a U.S. Naval Academy graduate who played his final game for the Midshipmen in 2014. He had a rookie tryout with the Houston Texans in 2015, then became an officer in the Marines.
Five years later, Quessenberry is through with his service obligation and looking to resume his football career. A defensive end at Navy, he has since switched positions to tight end, according to the NFL tryout list shared by Albert Breer of The MMQB.
That Quessenberry, whose older and younger brothers (David and Scott) both are current NFL offensive linemen, could even land an NFL tryout after a half-decade away from the game is remarkable in its own right. But it’s no surprise the Patriots were the team to bring him in.
Patriots coach Bill Belichick spent his formative years in Annapolis as the son of a former Navy coach and scout, and his adoration for the academy is well-documented. In 2015, he made Joe Cardona — a former college teammate of Quessenberry’s — the highest-drafted Navy product since 1986 (fifth round, 166th overall) and the second-highest-drafted long snapper ever.
“When your dad coaches at Navy, that’s a huge part of your life,” Belichick said in 2018. “(The Army-Navy) game’s a huge part of everybody’s life at those two academies, and it extends well beyond that. You know in May how many days are left until you play Army.”
The Patriots signed tight ends Paul Burton and Alex Ellis earlier this week to join Ryan Izzo, 2020 third-round draft picks Devin Asiasi and Dalton Keene and undrafted rookie Jake Burt. That group has a collective total of 17 games of regular-season NFL experience.
New England also hosted former Kansas City Chiefs defensive tackle Xavier Williams for a tryout, as ESPN’s Mike Reiss first reported Wednesday.