FOXBOROUGH, Mass. - Still unsure of the status of Tom Brady and with the preseason opener coming up, the New England Patriots released veteran quarterback Matt Flynn on Monday and signed Ryan Lindley to replace him as the team's third-stringer.
Flynn signed with the Patriots on June 12, but was on the non-football injury list. He previously played with Green Bay, Seattle, Oakland and Buffalo.
"We don't have forever here. The train's moving," coach Bill Belichick said Monday.
Lindley was forced into a starting role for Arizona late last season and struggled. A sixth-round draft pick in 2012, he came in after Carson Palmer and Drew Stanton were injured for the Cardinals and went 45 for 93 for 562 yards with two touchdown passes and four interceptions. Lindley was 16 of 28 for 82 yards with one TD and two interceptions in a playoff loss to Carolina.
"He's got some experience," Belichick said. "He's been in a couple of organizations, played some, and he's healthy. That's the most important trait."
Lindley joined the team at practice Monday. As expected, he looked rusty, but he did hit wide receiver Jonathan Krause with a long touchdown pass.
Brady has been suspended by the NFL for the first four games of the season and is fighting the suspension in court. Second-year player Jimmy Garoppolo is the backup.
"At the beginning of training camp (we) talked about that with the guys and the brotherhood that we feel like we have here, but I think our focus, especially my focus, is just on getting myself healthy and back to the field," said special teams captain Matthew Slater. "I know Tom will take care of his business.
"Obviously we support Tom, but we're just working hard to get better as a football team, all 90 of us, and I'm no different."
Belichick did not rule out bringing back Flynn at some point. Flynn has 17 touchdowns and 11 interceptions with three teams.
"We'll see how it goes," Belichick said. "We've brought back plenty of players that were here and weren't here and then came back.
NOTES: Slater was among the injured players returning to practice Monday, wearing a red, no-contact jersey. He said coming back was, "like the first day of school; it was just fun being out there with the guys." . The Patriots, who have been besieged by injuries, reportedly acquired second-year guard Ryan Groy from the Chicago Bears in exchange for rookie linebacker Matthew Wells, ESPN reporting the deal hinges on both players passing physicals. . The Patriots announced the signing OF two rookie free agents, running back Tony Creecy and tight end Logan Stokes. They released tight end Mason Brodine and linebacker Chris White. . Defensive tackle Alan Branch, who failed his conditioning test at the start of camp, was back on the field for full practice, while slot receiver Julian Edelman, out with an undisclosed injury, stretched, caught some passes, and departed for conditioning work. . Super Bowl hero Malcolm Butler made his second interception of Brady, this one a one-handed grab.
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