Patriots cut Pro Bowl safety Meriweather, veteran RB Morris

The New England Patriots released two-time Pro Bowl safety Brandon Meriweather and veteran running back Sammy Morris on Saturday while trimming their roster to the NFL's 53-player limit.

The departure of Meriweather, which a league source told NFL Network's Albert Breer came after attempts to trade the safety failed, might be the biggest surprise. Meriweather played deep into the fourth quarter of Thursday night's 18-17 preseason loss to the New York Giants, fueling speculation that he could be on the outs in New England.

Meriweather, 27, played in 64 consecutive games for the Patriots after being selected in the first round (24th overall) of the 2007 NFL Draft. He logged 261 total tackles and 12 interceptions and was named to the Pro Bowl the past two seasons.

Morris, 34, was on the bubble after the Patriots drafted Shane Vereen in the second round and Stevan Ridley in the third round of the 2011 NFL Draft. They will join BenJarvus Green-Ellis and Danny Woodhead in New England's backfield.

Morris joined the Patriots in 2007 after four seasons with the Buffalo Bills (2000-03) and three with the Miami Dolphins (2004-06). He was selected by the Bills out of Texas Tech in the fifth round of the 2000 NFL Draft.

Morris' release caps a four-year Patriots run in which he appeared in 47 games, rushing for 1,486 yards and 12 touchdowns. He led the Patriots with 727 rushing yards and a career-high seven touchdowns in 2008.

The Patriots also cut wide receiver Brandon Tate, a 2009 third-round draft pick who made 10 starts last season and finished with 24 receptions for 432 yards and three touchdowns. He returned 41 kickoffs for 1,057 yards with two scores.

Among the other players waived by New England on Saturday were defensive linemen Landon Cohen, Aaron Lavarias, Alex Silvestro and Eric Moore; linebackers Niko Koutouvides and Markell Carter; tight ends Lee Smith and Will Yeatman; wide receiver Tiquan Underwood; offensive lineman Thomas Austin; running back Eric Kettani and defensive back Ross Ventrone.

Running back Kevin Faulk and defensive linemen Ron Brace and Brandon Deaderick were placed on the reserve-physically unable to perform list. Fifth-round pick Marcus Cannon, an offensive lineman, was placed on the reserve non-football injury list.

Offensive lineman Rich Ohrnberger was placed on season-ending injured reserve.

Amid the transition, former Dallas Cowboys center Andre Gurode was scheduled to visit the Patriots on Saturday, according to the Boston Herald.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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