FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — With time growing short before their season opener against the Pittsburgh Steelers, the New England Patriots suddenly have an unexpected hole in the middle of their offensive line following the weekend hospitalization of starting center David Andrews because of blood clots in his lung.

Andrews, 27, was released from the hospital Monday night, according to the Boston Globe. He was at practice Tuesday, standing on the sideline in street clothes and chatting with teammates, but did not participate.

“It was great to see him, definitely,” starting right tackle Shaq Mason said. “But we’ve got tremendous confidence in any guy that steps on the field because we’ve gone through situations like this before.”

The team has not released a statement on Andrews’ situation, nor has it confirmed his medical condition. Andrews’ hospitalization was first reported by The Athletic, hours after Patriots Coach Bill Belichick’s news conference Monday.

Belichick was not made available to the media on Tuesday.

Andrews, a fifth-year veteran who joined the Patriots as an undrafted rookie free agent out of Georgia, has started 57 of the 60 games he has played. After seeing limited action in 2015, he beat out starter Bryan Stork to start the 2016 season and was named a team captain in 2017 and 2018.

Andrews missed the first few days of practice in training camp this year because of an undisclosed injury, but he gradually increased his participation before playing 28 snaps at center in the Patriots’ preseason game against Carolina last Thursday.

The Patriots already are dealing with attrition along the offensive line. Second-year veteran Isaiah Wynn is likely to replace Trent Brown, who left in free agency, at left tackle. Otherwise, an experienced unit composed of Joe Thuney, Andrews, Mason and Marcus Cannon was seen as a positive in the effort to protect 42-year-old quarterback Tom Brady.

The most likely candidates to replace Andrews for an extended period of time are a pair of fourth-year veterans, Ted Karras and James Ferentz. Karras has played in 45 games with five starts and Ferentz in 23 games with no starts.

“Those are going to be coaching decisions,” said Karras, whose great-uncle was former Detroit Lions great Alex Karras. “I’m just going to come in here tomorrow and work my hardest and try to do anything I can to help the team.”

JETS: Ryan Kalil has had a whirlwind month.

From retirement to a new team in a new city with new teammates and coaches. And, now, the New York Jets’ center is nearly ready to play again.

“I feel like I’m getting my legs back,” Kalil said Tuesday, “and feel like my old self.”

The 34-year-old Kalil walked away from football after last season, his 12th with the Carolina Panthers. He was convinced he was done with the game – until the desire to play again began gnawing at him during the winter.

It all led to Kalil signing a one-year deal with the Jets earlier this month, and began a process to him getting back on the field in a game. It nearly happened last Saturday night against New Orleans, but instead it will wait until the regular season.

“We were talking throughout the week whether we’re going to play or not,” he said. “Just, last minute, we just decided just to give me more time – more so mentally than physically.”

The last few weeks have been all about Kalil getting back into football shape and learning the terminology of Coach Adam Gase’s playbook.

“I didn’t take that much time off,” Kalil said. “It wasn’t like I was (Dallas tight end) Jason Witten, took off a year and came back. So, just being able to play fast, feel comfortable with the playbook. You know, it’s easier when it’s in a more controlled environment (in practice) and you can call timeout because you’re not quite sure what the play is but in a live game situation, that’s not OK.”

Kalil, who made five Pro Bowls with the Panthers, is confident that by the time the regular season kicks off on Sept. 8, he’ll be where he needs to be mentally, as far as having the plays down.

BRONCOS: Jake Butt has had another setback in his return from a third ACL injury and might be headed back to injured reserve.

Butt played 11 snaps in Denver’s preseason loss to the Los Angeles Rams last weekend in his first game action since September, leading to optimism that he could be a big boost to an offense that relies heavily on the tight end.

Butt hasn’t practiced since that game, however, because of pain and swelling in his surgically repaired left knee, symptoms that also sidelined him for three weeks earlier this summer.

“His knee, when he starts to feel good and plays or practices, then it flares back up again,” Coach Vic Fangio said Tuesday, adding that the third-year pro from Michigan “may miss some time.”

Fangio said IR is a possibility for Butt but not a certainty.

LIONS: The Detroit Lions signed quarterback Luis Perez and cut quarterback David Fales, giving them another option behind Matthew Stafford.

Later in the day, the Lions released running back Zach Zenner. He ran for 685 yards and eight touchdowns in 36 games over four years in Detroit.

CARDINALS: The Arizona Cardinals released veteran defensive lineman Terrell McClain and signed offensive lineman Jacob Ohnesorge.

McClain, 31, has played eight NFL seasons, most recently with the Atlanta Falcons last year. He played in 13 games and had 17 tackles and a sack.

PANTHERS: Coach Ron Rivera says “there’s no doubt in my mind” that Cam Newton will play in the team’s regular-season opener against the Rams.

Rivera says the 30-year-old quarterback has made “good strides” after suffering a mid-foot sprain in last Thursday night’s preseason game against at New England.

Newton threw on the side field Tuesday but did not practice.

Rivera expects Newton will return to practice when the Panthers begin preparations for the opener against the Rams on Sept. 8.

Like the team’s other starters, Newton will not play in the final preseason game Thursday night against the Steelers.

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