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Jabar Gafney, Donte' Stallworth cut by Patriots

The signing and emergence of Olympian Jeff Demps with the New England Patriots ultimately spelled the end for Donte' Stallworth and Jabar Gaffney's return to the Patriots.

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New England announced Monday that Stallworth and Gaffney were released. Gaffney's release comes as a surprise. He was viewed as a roster lock considering his history with the team and productive 2011 season with the Washington Redskins. But he never got on track in New England and struggled to stay healthy.

What was once a very crowded Patriots' receiving corps has been thinned out by the departures of Gaffney, Stallworth, Chad Johnson and Anthony Gonzalez at various points of the offseason. Demps will fill a utility role as a returner/running back and occasional receiver.

The Patriots like Stallworth's professionalism, but he has lost a step since he helped the 2007 team. Deion Branch and Julian Edelman remain on the roster as reserve receivers. Matthew Slater figures to make the squad as a special teamer.

The Patriots also released defensive linemen Gerard Warren and Tim Bulman, safety Ross Ventrone, cornerback Will Allen, fullback Spencer Larsen and safety Josh Barrett. Tight end Jake Ballard and defensive lineman Myron Pryor were placed on the reserve/physical unable to perform (PUP) list. The Patriots claimed first-year wide receiver Kerry Taylor.

Follow Gregg Rosenthal on Twitter @greggrosenthal.

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