April 5, 2013

NFL notebook: Pats kick off preseason at home vs. Tampa Bay

From staff and news services

The New England Patriots will play a nationally televised preseason game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Gillette Stadium on Aug. 16 at 8 p.m.

The NFL released its preseason schedule on Thursday, and the Patriots will face some familiar opponents.

New England will play at Philadelphia in Week 1, at Detroit in Week 3 and at home against the New York Giants in Week 4.

The game against Tampa Bay will be on FOX. The other three will be televised on the Patriots Preseason Network.

The Patriots and Eagles have played 20 times in the preseason, including last year when Philadelphia visited Foxborough.

The Patriots and Buccaneers, who also play at Gillette in the regular season, will play in the preseason for the third consecutive year. New England and Detroit have played each other in the preseason in two of the last three years.

The Patriots close their preseason against the Giants.


LIONS: Placekicker Jason Hanson is retiring after 21 seasons, citing heel trouble as a reason to call it a career.

"While the determination and willpower are still there, the wear and tear on my body, especially the issues I had and still have with my heel, have convinced me that it's time to retire," he said.

Hanson, 42, became the first player to play 300 games with one team, finishing with 327.

RAVENS: Reserve linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo, a three-time Pro Bowler on special teams, had his contract terminated after 10 seasons in the NFL, the last five with Baltimore.

FALCONS: Tyson Clabo, a tackle who started all 101 games he played for Atlanta, was released -- a move that will save the Falcons $4.5 million.

GIANTS: Defensive tackle Mike Patterson signed with New York after spending the previous eight seasons with Philadelphia.

COMBINE CONTROVERSY: The NFL has found no "specific violations" in questions teams asked college players at February's scouting combine.

Colorado tight end Nick Kasa and other players said they were asked about their sexual orientation, but did not identify which teams. The NFL's probe found no improper questioning.

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