Patriots release five players

The Patriots released five players Monday: receiver Jeremy Ebert, fullback Tony Fiammeta, tight end Tracy Robertson, defense back Malcolm Williams, and tight end Brad Herman.

All were long shots to make the roster. When the Patriots signed Danny Amendola and brought back Julian Edelman, Ebert’s chances were slim. Williams was in a similar situation after the Patriots drafted three defensive backs.

Only Williams was in uniform for a regular-season game last year. A seventh-round pick out of Texas Christian in 2011, he played in two games and recorded two special-teams tackles. Williams was on the practice squad the rest of the season.

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The 26-year old Fiammetta signed as a free agent last year but left the team during training camp, reportedly to tend to a family matter. He was placed on the reserve/exempt list, where he remained until last month.

Ebert was also a seventh-round pick, taken out of Northwestern last year. He was added to the practice squad out of training camp but released two weeks later. Ebert spent a week on the Eagles’ practice squad, and returned to the Patriots’ practice squad Nov. 28.

Signed as a rookie free agent out of Iowa last year, Herman was placed on injured reserve with an Achilles’ injury last June. Robertson was signed Jan. 1.

The Patriots have 70 players on their roster (including draft picks). They have not officially announced the undrafted players that have been signed. Teams can carry 90 players during the offseason and into training camp.