Patriots notebook

Wright given release

Ohrnberger gets cut by team, too

By Shalise Manza Young
Globe Staff / February 23, 2012
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INDIANAPOLIS - The Patriots released two players yesterday, veteran defensive lineman Mike Wright and guard Rich Ohrnberger.

A rookie free agent out of Cincinnati in 2005, Wright became a versatile and respected contributor on the defensive line, starting games at tackle and end.

However, he missed most of the last two seasons because of the debilitating effects of concussions.

He suffered a concussion against the Colts on Nov. 21, 2010, and did not play again that season.

He returned during training camp this year, only to suffer another concussion in the season opener in Miami. Wright was placed on injured reserve Oct. 14, and said that day that he and the Patriots medical staff felt it was best to let his brain heal by shutting him down for the rest of the season.

Wright’s base salary for 2012 was set to be $2.315 million, which also likely played a role in his release.

Ohrnberger, a fourth-round draft pick in 2009, spent the 2011 season on injured reserve, though the reason he was on IR was never disclosed by the team. He has played five games in his career.

Brady’s thoughts

Tom Brady released a statement on his Facebook page yesterday, sharing his thoughts on the death of his mentor and friend, Tom Martinez, who died Tuesday on his 66th birthday (Obituary, B12).

“I am deeply saddened by the passing of my coach, mentor, and friend,’’ Brady wrote. “Coach Martinez’s invaluable assistance and support will never be forgotten and will always have a lasting impact on my life.

“The times we spent together remain some of my fondest memories. His legacy of commitment, toughness, and determination will live on forever.’’

Martinez was a Northern California coaching legend, compiling more than 1,000 wins as the football, softball, and women’s basketball coach at the College of San Mateo.

But his most famous pupil was Brady, who started working with Martinez when he was 13. The relationship continued for more than 20 years, right through this season. Over time, their relationship grew deeper than coach-student.

As Martinez’s health began to decline because of diabetes, Brady tried to get him the kidney he needed, posting an appeal on his Faebook page for the MatchingDonors program.

A match never came, however, and Martinez reportedly suffered a heart attack Tuesday during one of his four-times-a-week dialysis treatments.

The San Jose Mercury News reported yesterday that a memorial service for Martinez will be held tomorrow afternoon.

Game on in London

The Rams settled their lease dispute with the St. Louis Convention and Visitors Bureau, clearing the way for the Oct. 28 “home’’ game against the Patriots in London to go on.

The team’s lease required it to play all home games in the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis. To play in the London game this year, the team agreed to increase the number of weekends during the football season that the arena can be booked for other uses. The Rams also will pay temporary employees the wages they would have earned had the game against New England remained in St. Louis.

However, this deal is only for the 2012 season; the Rams also want to be the home team in London in 2013 and 2014.

Material from the Associated Press was used in this report.

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