Patriots release QB/WR Danny Etling
FOXBOROUGH — Danny Etling almost always stayed on the field at training camp practices after all the other Patriots players were done.
However, he will be one of the first who began camp on the roster to leave.
The Patriots waived Etling, who was trying to switch from quarterback to wide receiver this season. Etling was still listed on the Tuesday roster but was not present at the final home training camp practice. The move came after the Patriots traded with Atlanta for tight end Eric Saubert Monday.
The Patriots selected Etling in the seventh round of the 2018 NFL Draft out of LSU. He spent last season on the practice squad.
“He worked extremely hard,” wide receiver Maurice Harris said. “He’s a great guy. I think he will keep his head high and be positive about the decision and everything. He was doing good. I hope the best for him in the future.”
A crowded quarterback room with Tom Brady, Brian Hoyer, and fourth-round pick Jarrett Stidham prompted Etling to try to switch to receiver. Each day after practice ended, Etling continued to work on skills needed to play the position.
“It takes a lot of courage to go do something like that, something you have never done before this late in your career,” Harris said. “Big props to him.”
Part of what made that possible for Etling was his knowledge of the offense. Harris, who often sat next to him in offensive meetings, came away impressed with Etling’s knowledge and understanding of football. Harris seemed to always see Etling studying the playbook.
Etling often helped receiver Braxton Berrios over the past year or so, too. He and Berrios, who came in as rookies together and roomed together, bounced questions and information about the offense off each other.
“He’s a student of the game,” Berrios said. “He loves the game of football. He studies like nobody I have ever been around.”
Harry injury ‘minor’
Wide receiver N’Keal Harry did not practice again, but his injury is considered “very minor” and he will be fine, according to a league source.
Harry caught two passes in the Patriots’ first preseason game last week against the Lions before exiting with what appeared to be a hamstring injury. He didn’t return for the second half.
The Patriots selected Harry 32nd overall in the first round of this year’s draft.
Patriots rookies experienced a memorable end to training camp in Foxborough.
At one point during Tuesday’s one-hour light session, the entire team went to the far corner of the back practice field. The rookies had to dive for loose balls on a mucky turf while Brady hosed them down. The rest of the players created a wall around what turned into a small pond of sorts. Photos were not allowed.
The reason for the, uh, drill?
“You’ve got to recover fumbles in the game of football,” center David Andrews said.
The reviews for his position group were not stellar. The rookie offensive linemen, Andrews said, could use some work in that department.
Rookies were not the only ones allowed to take part in the drill. First-year coach Jerod Mayo jumped in, too.
“I’ve never seen anything like that, so it was funny,” defensive end Michael Bennett said. “But seeing Jerod do it, and knowing his reputation in the NFL and his first year being a coach, seeing him do that was funny.”
Thrown right in
Saubert, fresh off the trade from Atlanta, made a strong first impression, albeit without pads. Wearing No. 48, Saubert caught multiple passes, one a nice catch down the seam. Brady’s day ended with a touchdown to Saubert during a red-zone drill . . . Offensive tackle Isaiah Wynn participated Tuesday after taking part in full-contact 11-on-11 drills Monday. He missed all of his 2018 rookie season with a torn Achilles’ tendon and is likely to start at left tackle this season . . . Jason and Devin McCourty celebrated their 32nd birthdays Tuesday. The team huddled together to sing “Happy Birthday” to the twins.
Christopher Price of the Globe staff contributed to this report