Tebow safe, vet LB Koutovides among Patriots cuts

Tim Tebow survived the New England Patriots’ cut to 77 players

on Monday.

The Patriots must make two more moves before Tuesday’s league

deadline to get to 75.

The final 53-man roster will be announced Saturday and Tebow has

no idea of what will happen between now and then.

”I’m just focused on today,” Tebow said Monday, after the team

went through its first practice since Thursday night’s 40-9

preseason loss to the Detroit Lions.

Tebow, trying for a roster spot as the No. 3 quarterback, didn’t

play in that game and there has been speculation he’ll get plenty

of playing time in Thursday night’s preseason finale against the

New York Giants.

Prior to Monday, though, there was also speculation the

left-hander could be gone in the first cuts.

In other words, no one seems to know what’s going to happen.

”I learned very early on in my career at Florida to worry about

what I can control and the things that I can’t control I’m not

going to spend time worrying about,” Tebow said. ”But I can

control my attitude, my focus every single day and those are the

things that I’m going to worry about.”

Nine-year NFL linebacker Niko Koutovides was among those

released.

Koutovides, who played the past two years in New England, saw

action in the final 14 regular-season and both postseason games

last year. He made eight special teams tackles and one on defense

in the regular season, then made one stop in the playoffs.

While Tebow went through another day of ”trying to get

better,” wide receiver Danny Amendola and linebacker Jermaine

Cunningham, who both sat out the game in Detroit, were back on the

practice field.

And on a back field, tight end Rob Gronkowski, coming off back

and arm surgeries, was working on individual drills.

The club has to make a decision on Gronkowski by Saturday.

If the Patriots think he won’t be able to play until Week 7,

they would leave him on the physically unable to perform list,

which would mean he has to wait six weeks before he can practice or

play.

If the Patriots believe he could be ready before Game 7, he will

be on the roster, taking up a spot until he’s ready.

Coach Bill Belichick, addressing reporters Monday, said the club

is going about the business of finalizing the roster – and that

includes the usual late-camp talks with other teams about potential

acquisitions.

”There’s a lot of things we’re still kicking around,” he said.

”Some things will take care of themselves, some things will settle

themselves.”

As far as Thursday’s loss, the players didn’t have to be

reminded Monday about what happened.

Asked if he and his teammates got the message from Belichick

after the game, second-year linebacker Dont’a Hightower said,

”Message might be an understatement.

”He definitely said what he had to say and I feel like

everybody’s got that and everybody’s bought in. Practice and film

study and everything like that went smooth today, so we just have

to pull together.”

Said Belichick: ”Regardless of what happened Thursday night,

we’ve still got a lot of work to do on our football team. There are

a lot of things we need to work on – one, the health of our team,

the (needed) rest of our team, certainly our execution,

preparation, all those things. We need plenty of work there,

too.”

NOTES: Amendola, aware of the team’s policy when it comes to

injuries, wouldn’t say if he would have played had last Thursday’s

game been a regular-season contest. … Also cut were wide receiver

Kamar Aiken, rookie cornerback Brandon Jones, cornerback LeQuan

Lewis and rookie long snapper Mike Zupancic. Rookie defensive

lineman Cory Grissom and tackle Markus Zusevics were placed on

injured reserve and defensive lineman Armond Armstead and wide

receiver Mark Harrison were placed on the reserve/non-football

injury list. In addition, cornerback Stephen Morris and defensive

lineman Scott Vallone were re-signed.

AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org