Antonio Johnson, seen here recovering a fumble for the Colts in 2010, was cut by the Patriots on Thursday. (Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
FOXBORO — The Patriots made several moves Thursday before leaving for Charlotte and Friday’s preseason game against the Panthers.
The team waived offensive tackle Mark Asper and linebacker Cameron Gordon, a move Gordon’s agent announced earlier in the day. Additionally, the team released veteran defensive tackle Antonio Johnson.
The first roster cut down comes next Tuesday, when NFL rosters must be pared to 75. Final cutdown comes on Sept. 5, when rosters must be trimmed to 53.
Asper, 29, originally entered the NFL as a sixth-round draft pick (178th overall) by the Buffalo Bills in the 2012 NFL Draft out of Oregon. The 6-foot-6, 321-pounder, was released by Buffalo following training camp in 2012 and was claimed off waivers by Minnesota.
Asper was inactive for the first 14 games of the 2012 season with the Vikings before being released and claimed off waivers by Jacksonville. He played in one game for the Jaguars, mainly on special teams. After being released by Jacksonville on Aug. 25, 2013, he was signed by Buffalo to the practice squad. Buffalo signed him to the 53-man roster on Oct. 13, 2013, and he played in six games for the Bills that season. Asper was released by Buffalo at the end of training camp in 2014 and spent time on the practice squad of the New York Giants, Denver Broncos and Miami Dolphins in 2014. He signed with the Patriots on Aug. 6, and appeared in both preseason games as a reserve.
Gordon, 24, originally signed with New England on May 12, 2014, as a rookie free agent out of Michigan. The 6-foot-3, 237-pounder suffered an injury during training camp and spent his entire rookie campaign on injured reserve. He was released by New England on May 18, 2015, and re-signed on Aug. 4. He appeared in both preseason games as a reserve and posted four tackles on defense.
Johnson, 30, is a veteran of six NFL seasons with Indianapolis (2008-2012) and Tennessee (2013). The 6-foot-3, 328-pounder originally entered the NFL as a fifth-round draft pick (152nd overall) by Tennessee out of Mississippi State in the 2007 NFL Draft. Johnson began his rookie season on the Tennessee practice squad before being signed to the Indianapolis 53-man roster.
He re-signed with Tennessee as an unrestricted free agent in the 2014 offseason but was released by the Titans prior to the start of the regular season. Johnson spent last season out of football before signing a future contract with the Patriots on Feb. 6, 2015. He has played in 83 NFL games with 52 starts and has accumulated 143 total tackles, 4½ sacks and three passes defensed.
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