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AFC East Roundup: News & Notes

Looking to trim the roster to 53, the New England Patriots cut Tim Tebow Saturday.

Looking to trim the roster to 53, the New England Patriots cut Tim Tebow Saturday.

Despite the absence of on-field action, Saturday proved a busy day in the NFL as teams look to thin their rosters to the mandatory 53 players.

Some of the biggest stories of the day came in the AFC East, where it appears quarterbacks come and go. If you missed Saturday’s headlines amidst a torrent of College Football action, here’s a rundown to get you up to speed.

New England Releases Tebow

Rob Gronkowski rejoins the active roster.

Rob Gronkowski rejoins the active roster.

While an improved outing against the New York Giants on Thursday seemed to have provided Tim Tebow with a twelfth hour reprieve, the New England Patriots ultimately decided to move on without the beleaguered quarterback, adding the former Heisman winner’s name to Saturday’s list of final cuts.

The move, which many predicted soon after Tebow was signed by the Patriots in June, sees Tebow return to employment limbo. With less than four years under his belt, he will now be placed on waivers. Should he clear waivers, he will be free to sign with the team of his choice. But as this past summer showed, interest in Tebow hasn’t exactly been forward coming.

Despite the uncertain future, Tebow took to Twitter to thank the Patriots organization.

“I would like to thank Mr. Kraft, Coach Belichick, Coach McDaniels and the entire Patriots organization for giving me the opportunity to be part of such a classy organization,” he Tweeted to his near 2.4 million followers.

“I pray for nothing but the best for you all. I will remain in relentless pursuit of continuing my lifelong dream of being an NFL quarterback.”

The Patriots will go forward with Tom Brady as the starting quarterback and Ryan Mallett in a backup role.

In other news, Rob Gronkowski will begin the season on the active list despite not having made an appearance this preseason. The Patriots released tight ends Daniel Fells and Jake Ballard on Saturday.

Bills Cut Leinart, Place Kolb on IR

Matt Leinart's say in Buffalo was a short one.

Matt Leinart’s say in Buffalo was a short one.

Tim Tebow wasn’t the only former Heisman Trophy winner to find himself without a team on Saturday. After less than a week with the Buffalo Bills, quarterback Matt Leinart was cut from the roster.

Leinart, who won the 2005 Heisman award with USC, was picked up last Sunday after the Bulls suffered injuries to both E.J. Manuel and Kevin Kolb. After throwing a pair of interceptions against the Detroit Lions on Thursday, the Bills’ front office apparently lost all faith in Leinart.

The Bills also chose to place Kolb on the injured reserve list. Kolb has had a torrid offseason, suffering a knee injury before departing last week’s game against the Washington Redskins with a concussion. Having been brought in to compete for the starting quarterback job, Kolb’s future is now in serious doubt.

Jets Expect Smith to Start at QB

It appears Geno Smith will start for the Jets.

It appears Geno Smith will start for the Jets.

The New York Post is reporting that the New York Jets will start rookie quarterback Geno Smith in Sunday’s regular season opener against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

The decision to start Smith in itself is not a huge surprise in the wake of Mark Sanchez’s shoulder injury, suffered in the fourth quarter against the Giants last week, but according to the Post the Jets are panning on moving forward indefinitely with the former West Virginia triggerman. Sources told the newspaper that Smith would need to be a “total failure early in the season” to relinquish the starting role.

Of course, this is the New York Jets and drama has a way of finding its way into the Gang Green locker room. Just ask Sanchez, who was unsettled in the starting role a year ago when Tim Tebow was warming the bench.

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