NFL players are signed and released every single day, but it isn’t often that one former Hawkeye replaces another.
That’s exactly what happened Thursday when the New England Patriots announced its decision to release linebacker A.J. Edds and replace him on the 53-man roster with practice squad player and former Iowa teammate Jeff Tarpinian.
The Patriots claimed Edds off of waivers earlier this month from the Miami Dolphins. The former Second Team All-Big Ten linebacker for the Hawkeyes was selected by the Dolphins in the fourth round of the 2010 NFL Draft, but missed all of the 2010 season after tearing his ACL in training camp.
Edds made appearances in the first two regular season games for the Patriots this season, recording one tackle.
Tarpinian joined New England as an undrafted free agent. He was released on Sept. 12, but was then signed to the Patriots practice squad two days later.
New England expects Tarpinian to not only be an option at linebacker, but also add versatility to special teams. The former Hawkeye battled injuries during his college career but when healthy proved to be solid both as a defender and special teams player.
Hawkeye fans will certainly remember the hit Tarpinian put on Michigan kick returner Darryl Stonum in 2009.
Former Hawkeye and Pro Football Hall of Famer Andre Tippett is one of 32 retired players invited to speak during next week’s NFL Draft.
Each of the 32 former players will represent a specific team and announce picks during the second round of the NFL Draft on April 29, the league announced Thursday. It marks the first time former players will announce the selections for an entire round.
Tippett will represent the New England Patriots and be the first former superstar to take the stage. The Patriots have the first pick in the second round (33rd overall).
“Looking forward to making the Patriots 2nd rd pick next week in NYC… Also I get to see some old friends..” Tippett tweeted Thursday.
After an All-American career with the Hawkeyes, Tippet spent his entire NFL career as a linebacker with the Patriots (1982-1993). The five-time Pro Bowler and was enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2008.
He now serves as the Pat’s Executive Director of Community Affairs.
Hawkeye fans may not remember Bobby Grier, but his contribution to football is tantamount.
A running back for Iowa in the 1960s, Grier led the Hawkeyes with 406 rushing yards in the 1963 season.
Arguably his most important accomplishment didn’t come in an Iowa uniform, though. The former Hawkeye played a integral role is helping the New England Patriots land Tom Brady with the 199th pick in the 2000 NFL Draft.
As Tim Graham of ESPN.com writes, Grier — the Patriots VP of Player Personnel — was the only NFL executive to contact then-Michigan head football coach Lloyd Carr about Brady. Grier got in touch with Carr only two weeks after being fired from his position by new Patriots head coach Bill Belichick.
“Bobby Grier, who was with the Patriots at the time, talked about how they were going to draft a quarterback late,” Carr said in the ESPN 30 for 30 documentary The Brady 6, which debuted on April 12. “I just said, ‘Bobby, I guarantee you you’ll never regret drafting Tom Brady.'”