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Patriots claim running back Tyler Gaffney off waivers

Bill Belichick just did the most Bill Belichickian thing ever.

The New England Patriots on Monday claimed rookie running back Tyler Gaffney off waivers after the Carolina Panthers tried to sneak their sixth-round pick through waivers and onto injured reserve.

Gaffney suffered a knee injury over the weekend that will require surgery. He'll miss the season, but when he returns, he'll wear New England's red, white and blue.

It's reminiscent of Belichick claiming injured Giants tight end Jake Ballard off waivers in 2012 after New York also attempted to whisk the veteran by for a trip to IR.

After the Ballard transaction, the Patriots were dressed down by some for breaking a so-called "unwritten rule" that says teams should respectfully turn a blind eye to injured players riding the waiver wire.

We recall similar ire when the Browns in 2009 exposed sixth-round rookie cornerback Don Carey to waivers only to have the Jaguars snatch him up.

"That's the first time I've ever seen that," an official with another team said at the time, per The Plain Dealer. "I would have bet money that nobody would have claimed him."

Well, you bet wrong, sir.

Belichick doesn't give a hoot about unwritten rules, and shame on any team clutching to the belief that a talented player exposed league-wide is guaranteed to go untouched.

The latest Around The League Podcast visits with former Jets general manager Mike Tannenbaum and discusses the best of the early training-camp surprises.

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