A fourth-round pick out of Fresno State in 2005, Sanders has been a part-time starter in New England over the last six seasons. In 84 games (50 starts), Sanders has 301 tackles, one quarterback sack and eight interceptions, including a career-high three in 2010.
Sanders was due $2.8 million in base salary in 2011, the final year of his current contract, and was surprised by his release.
"It was a shock. It wasn't one of the things I was expecting to hear today. It didn't cross my mind," Sanders said via Mike Reiss of ESPN Boston.
By releasing Sanders now, and not trading him, the Patriots give the seventh-year veteran a chance to find his own team. The Falcons are a logical landing spot for Sanders. Not only was Atlanta general manager Thomas Dimitroff was the Patriots' Director of College Scouting when Sanders was drafted, the Falcons may like to provide a challenge to incumbents Thomas DeCoud and William Moore.
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