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Gronk in, Tebow out for Pats

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Updated: 8/31/2013 7:04 pm

Foxborough, MA (Sports Network) - The New England Patriots got down to the NFL-mandated 53-man roster limit on Saturday by releasing quarterback Tim Tebow and a host of others.

Tebow joined the Patriots in June and survived the first round of cuts earlier this week. He also threw a pair of fourth-quarter touchdown passes in his final audition on Thursday in New England's 28-20 win over the New York Giants.

The former Heisman Trophy winner was reunited in New England with the coach who drafted him in the first round of the 2010 NFL Draft, Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels. McDaniels was the head coach of the Broncos at the time.

Tebow led Denver to the playoffs in his second season after becoming the starter in Week 4 of the 2011 campaign, but was traded to the Jets for a pair of draft picks the following offseason.

New York tried to use the former Florida product in several different capacities -- including signal caller of the Wildcat formation as well as punt block specialist -- but ultimately was unsuccessful and never given a chance to play his natural position -- quarterback -- despite the struggles of incumbent starter Mark Sanchez.

Tebow appeared in 12 games with the Jets and was waived at the end of April. He has accumulated 29 total touchdowns and has thrown for 2,422 yards over the course of a three-year career.

The Patriots also released veteran punter Zoltan Mesko, defensive end Jermaine Cunningham, defensive tackles Justin Francis and Marcus Forston, safety Kanorris Davis, linebacker Ja'Gared Davis, cornerback Justin Green, running back George Winn, wide receiver Quentin Sims, offensive lineman Chris McDonald and defensive back Stephon Morris on Saturday.

New England, meanwhile, placed veteran safety Adrian Wilson on injured reserve.

A day earlier New England started its cutdown process by releasing veteran tight ends Daniel Fells and Jake Ballard, moves that foreshadowed that All-Pro TE Rob Gronkowski would not be placed on the physically unable to perform list.

Gronkowski has been out the entire preseason after undergoing multiple surgeries on his forearm and back, and there has been no official timetable for his return. If he was placed on the PUP list, however, Gronkowski would have missed at least the first six games of the season.

New England also released eight other players on Friday: defensive end Marcus Benard, receiver Johnathan Haggerty, linebacker Mike Rivera, offensive lineman Luke Patterson, fullback Ben Bartholomew, defensive linemen Gilbert Pena and Scott Vallone and offensive lineman Matt Stankiewitch.

The Patriots will begin their season on Sept. 8th in Buffalo.

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