The Patriots are about to embark on a training camp like no other. That was evident on Sunday.

The Patriots cut nine undrafted free agents – quarterbacks Ja’Mar Smith and Brian Lewerke; linebacker Kyahva Tezino; defensive tackle Courtney Wallace; safeties Adarius Pickett and Malik Gant and receivers Isaiah Zuber, Sean Riley and Will Hastings.

After having cut cornerback Lenzy Pipkins on Saturday, the Patriots will enter training camp with 80 players on their roster. Players will start filing into Gillette Stadium on Monday and will be tested for COVID-19 this week.

Teams had the option to start training camp with 90 players but would have had to work in a split-squad format and reduce their rosters to 80 by Aug. 16. The other option was to cut to 80 by July 28. Since the Patriots opted for that, they won’t have to work with a split squad in camp.

Last week, the NFL and NFLPA agreed to a series of new rules and guidelines for this summer. Because of the coronavirus pandemic, training camp will be very different in 2020. There will be no preseason games and rosters will be cut down from 90 to 80 before practices begin in mid-August.

This week, groups of players will go to Gillette Stadium on Monday (rookies and quarterbacks) and Tuesday (other veterans). Those groups will be tested to start the week and then again on Thursday. On Friday, players with two negative results will start to work inside the facility. Teams will work only with strength and conditioning on Days 7-14 of camp. Days 15-18 are to feature practices without pads. Players will be in pads for the first time on Aug. 17.

Players will be tested daily for the first two weeks of training camp. If the positively rate falls below 5%, players will be tested every other day after those two weeks.

The cut down to 80 hurt most undrafted free agents in Foxboro. Pipkins was signed earlier in the offseason and is a veteran of two seasons, while Gant (injured reserve) and Pickett (practice squad) were both around last season. After signing 15 undrafted free agents following the 2020 NFL Draft, the Pats are now left with eight undrafted rookies on their roster. Remaining are receiver Jeff Thomas, running back J.J. Taylor, tight end Jake Burt, tight end and linebacker Rashod Berry, defensive end Nick Coe, linebacker De’Jon Harris, cornerback Myles Bryant and defensive tackle Bill Murray.


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