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Patriots release Brady's backup QB

Quarterback Kevin O'Connell, projected to be Tom Brady's backup, was cut Monday by the New England Patriots.
/ Source: WHDH-TV

Quarterback Kevin O'Connell, projected to be Tom Brady's backup, was cut Monday by the New England Patriots.

O'Connell's release came three days after Brady sustained what the Patriots described as a sore shoulder in a 27-24 exhibition win over the Washington Redskins.

On Monday, Brady stretched with his teammates, at one point sitting with his legs outstretched and reaching with both arms to touch his toes. He handed off to running backs during the 15 minutes the practice was open to the media. Walter and Hoyer also handed off and none of the quarterbacks threw during that period.

The remaining backups are Andrew Walter, formerly of the Oakland Raiders, and rookie Brian Hoyer, a free agent from Michigan State. The Patriots could seek a more experienced quarterback before the season in case Brady is sidelined at any point.

A third-round pick from San Diego State last year, O'Connell spent his rookie year behind Matt Cassel after Brady tore left knee ligaments in the season opener. Cassel was traded to Kansas City in the offseason, and O'Connell was expected to move up.

New England also released long snapper Nathan Hodel on Monday, leaving rookie Jake Ingram, a sixth-round draft pick from Hawaii, to handle that job.

O'Connell struggled in preseason games and was intercepted twice by the Redskins Friday night.

Brady completed 12 of 19 passes for 150 yards and two touchdowns before landing on his right shoulder on a hard tackle by defensive lineman Albert Haynesworth after an incomplete pass just before the first two-minute warning. He flexed his arm on the sidelines and threw a few passes.

He had been expected to play in the third quarter, but O'Connell took over after halftime.

O'Connell completed just 3 of 10 passes for 18 yards along with the two interceptions.

Brady hasn't spoken to reporters since the game. On Saturday, coach Bill Belichick lumped any problem with Brady's throwing shoulder into the category of normal "bumps and bruises" from a physical game.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)