FOXBOROUGH -- The Patriots yesterday waived third-year defensive tackle Ethan Kelley, who had been expected to be the top backup to Vince Wilfork at nose tackle.
Kelley (6 feet 2 inches, 310 pounds) was on the practice squad in 2003 after being drafted in the seventh round out of Baylor. He was listed on the 53-man roster the entire 2004 season, though he saw action only in the season finale.
According to a team source, Kelley failed the conditioning test players must pass before camp. Typically, a player gets further opportunities to complete the test, and Kelley was on the practice field Friday and Saturday, after failing the exam on Thursday.
The Patriots had no comment on the release, but coach Bill Belichick made some interesting remarks in response to an unrelated question before the release of Kelley was announced.
''I get those questions all the time, 'What pill can I take to pass the running test?' " Belichick said. ''There isn't any. Either you go out and get in shape and you are in condition to run the test or you're not.
''If [taking a pill] was all there was to it, I'd be playing. The player has to go out there and run and sweat and get their muscles and their body in condition to go through a National Football League practice and season. There is no shortcut to it."
Defensive end Richard Seymour's holdout reached Day 4, with no official news from either side, though a Foxsports.com report said an agreement had been reached on terms for this season and this season only. The website's Jay Glazer, citing no sources, said Seymour is expected to report to camp tomorrow . . . Tim Dwight was added to the active roster for the first time. The veteran receiver, who signed as a free agent this offseason, had been recovering from foot surgery. Dwight, who began camp on the physically unable to perform list, participated in all of the team drills yesterday but thought he was a bit sluggish. ''I felt good," he said, ''but seeing the offense on paper is one thing; hearing it in the huddle and trying to maneuver around guys to get in the right spot . . . [I] was kind of slow. But I expected that." . . . Former offensive coordinator Charlie Weis addressed the team with a short speech before the afternoon workout. ''[He told us] just how much he appreciates us winning and helping him get a job," receiver Troy Brown said. ''We didn't get too many [curse words]." Weis, now the head coach at Notre Dame, has a well-earned reputation of expressing himself rather colorfully on the football field . . . Linebackers Willie McGinest and Monty Beisel, receivers P.K. Sam, Bethel Johnson, and Ricky Bryant, tight end Daniel Graham, and kick returner Chad Morton did not practice . . . The Patriots work out twice today (8:45 a.m. and 7 p.m.), with the evening workout at Gillette Stadium being a special event for season ticket-holders.
Being the leading tackler on the league's best team wasn't enough to get Rodney Harrison into the Pro Bowl last season. No problem, he said.
''It used to drive me; it used to motivate me," Harrison said. ''I understand now that the Pro Bowl balloting is a bunch of crap.
''How long did it take Tedy Bruschi to get voted [in]? Jeremiah Trotter, he's a great player and all, but he plays four or five games and gets voted on.
''I don't validate how well I play by the Pro Bowl balloting."
The numbers on his paycheck aren't necessarily how Harrison validates himself, either. Though a restructuring of his deal is believed to be near completion, his current $1.55 million base pay ranks in a tie for eighth-best among NFL safeties.
''I'm a professional," Harrison said. ''Regardless of my contract status, I'm going to go out there and do my job."