In what was the final roster move to set the final team for Super Bowl XLVI, the New England Patriots released Tiquan Underwood. It wasn’t a shocking decision by the Patriots but a disappointing one for Underwood who was on the eve of his first Super Bowl appearance. Underwood would however receive all benefits of the Super Bowl meaning he would receive $44,000 if the Giants won and $88,000 if the Patriots won in addition to a Super Bowl ring.
This was the third time Underwood was cut or released from the Patriots this season. He was originally signed on August 29 and then cut on September 3 after only five days. He re-signed on November 8 and was added to the 53 man roster but was released again on November 12. He was signed a third time on November 23 and released on February 4, the night before the Super Bowl. Tuesday he signed for the fourth time in almost five months.
Being released by the Patriots so close to the Super Bowl was tough for Underwood but a little easier when he wasn’t claimed off waivers by any other NFL teams. Underwood told the media in Indianapolis that he was fine with the decision and considered the New England Patriots a “classy organization”. That’s because he knew what the team had planned for the third year receiver if he was not claimed off waivers.
Underwood, who had three reception for 30 yards in six games this season, joins linebacker/defensive end Markell Carter, receiver Britt Davis, offensive tackle Matt Kopa, defensive end Aaron Lavarias, linebacker Mike Rivera, and safety Ross Ventrone as players who signed deals with the Patriots for 2012. All of the other six players spent time on the Patriots practice squad in 2011.
Of the seven players signed to contracts Tuesday, Underwood is the one most likely to make the roster come September. Part of the optimism for Underwood is the lack of receivers the Patriots have signed for next season. Deion Branch and Wes Welker will be unrestricted free agents on March 13 and Chad Ochocinco is likely to be let go during free agency.