Former Oregon Duck wide receiver Lavasier Tuinei was both signed and released, last week, by the New England Patriots. Tuinei, the Rose Bowl offensive player of the game in 2011, signed with the Patriots on August 1 after the team had cut two other wide receivers during training camp. But his time in Foxboro didn’t last long. On August 3 the team released Tuinei, along with a rookie offensive lineman from the University of Missouri.
Tuinei went undrafted before signing a deal with the Seattle Seahawks last year and was part of their training squad. He then spent time on other practice teams with the Dallas Cowboys and Cincinnati Bengals.
There were no reasons given for the about-face by the Patriots organization, whose wide receiving section is in a jam. Wes Welker left earlier in the offseason to be Peyton Manning’s new target in Denver. Rob Gronkowski has continued to battle injuries to his arm with multiple surgeries and infections. But the biggest drama involves former Patriot Aaron Hernandez, who is in jail awaiting trial on murder charges.
It remains to be seen if the Patriots will later change their mind and bring back Tuinei to fill in as a target for Tom Brady.