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Players Who Were Never the Same After Leaving New England Patriots

Nick LantzCorrespondent IIMarch 13, 2013

Players Who Were Never the Same After Leaving New England Patriots

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    The New England Patriots seem to get the best out of almost every player on the roster, and many times players are never able to reach the success they achieved with the Pats after leaving the organization.

    A tough decision with Wes Welker now stands in front of the team. Do the Pats sign him to a long-term contract or let the 31-year-old play elsewhere?

    The Patriots are usually good in dealing with these situations—knowing when to let a player walk.

    Asante Samuel and Richard Seymour have both been solid elsewhere, but even they had slightly more success while in New England.

    Here are seven players who were never the same after leaving the Patriots.

Matt Cassel

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    The Kansas City Chiefs thought Matt Cassel was the answer. He has obviously been quite a disappointment for the team.

    Cassel took over as the Patriots' starting quarterback after Tom Brady injured his left knee in the first game of the 2008 season, ironically against the Chiefs.

    He completed over 63 percent of his passes and threw for 3,693 yards and 21 touchdowns. He led the Pats to 11 victories and also rushed for 270 yards and two scores.

    After his strong season, Cassel signed a lucrative six-year deal with the Chiefs worth $63 million. Since then he has not had the type of success that he had in his only season as a starter with the Patriots.

    A backup to Carson Palmer and Matt Leinart while with the USC Trojans, Cassel had never been a regular starting quarterback at an elite level.

    He never again came close to his solid 2008 completion percentage, and he only connected on a disappointing 55 percent of his passes during his first season in KC.

    Cassel threw just as many touchdowns (16) as he did interceptions in 2009. His QB rating dropped below 70 that season after it was 89.4 as a starter with the Patriots.

    He only played in 18 games in the last two seasons, missing a considerable amount of time due to multiple injuries. In 2012, Chiefs fans cheered when Cassel was knocked out of a home game against the Baltimore Ravens.

    Even in his best season with the Chiefs, he did not even come close to reaching the 327 completions and nearly 3,700 yards he collected in one season as the Patriots' starter.

Brandon Meriweather

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    The way that Brandon Meriweather began his NFL career made it seem as if the defensive back was going to become a star.

    Meriweather had 83 tackles in consecutive seasons from 2008-2009. He forced four fumbles and knocked down 18 passes in that span as well.

    The former first-round pick was selected to the Pro Bowl in both 2009 and 2010 while with the Patriots. He made some big hits and forced a number of turnovers during his stint in New England.

    The team released him in 2011 after a poor preseason, and he has not been relevant since.

    He has played in 12 games since being let go, serving mainly as a backup for the Chicago Bears and the Washington Redskins.

    After making 12 interceptions in four seasons with the Patriots, he has made only one since. He has not had very much success since leaving the Pats.

David Givens

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    David Givens gave the Patriots more than they expected during his four seasons with the team.

    He was drafted in Round 7 of the 2002 draft and became a key contributor to the Pats' offense.

    Givens played very well in the playoffs, finding the end zone often. He caught seven touchdown passes in seven postseason games from 2003-2005.

    The tough receiver scored a touchdown in both Super Bowl XXXVIII and Super Bowl XXXIX. He was a part of back-to-back championship seasons with the Patriots.

    In four seasons with the Pats, Givens gained over 2,200 receiving yards and caught 12 touchdown passes.

    The Tennessee Titans signed him to a five-year contract worth $24 million in 2006, but he was never a factor for the team.

    He played in just five games, hauling in only eight catches for the Titans before facing a career-ending knee injury.

    A few years later, Givens filed a lawsuit for $25 million against the Titans. He complained that the team knew that there was an issue with his knee beforehand and never informed him.

Ellis Hobbs

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    Ellis Hobbs was a very consistent player with the Patriots. He started every game in his final two seasons with the team.

    Hobbs played in all but one game during his four seasons with the Pats. He notably made two interceptions in the playoffs in 2007.

    During his time in New England, he had nine interceptions and nearly 200 tackles. He was also a factor as an exciting kick-returner, bringing back three kicks for touchdowns.

    He only played in 16 games in two seasons after signing with the Philadelphia Eagles. Hobbs collected just 27 tackles and one interception after leaving the Patriots.

    Retirement came early for Hobbs after he had a severe neck injury in 2010.

Laurence Maroney

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    As a first-round pick for the Patriots in 2006, expectations were high for running back Laurence Maroney.

    Though he never became a star, Maroney was solid in four seasons with the squad. He made an impact right away as a rookie.

    He gained over 1,500 yards in his first two seasons in the league despite serving mostly as a backup.

    He found the end zone 13 times during those two seasons as well.

    Maroney scored nine touchdowns in 2009 after missing the majority of the previous season due to a shoulder injury. However, he dealt with a thigh injury that kept him from playing in the 2010 season opener. He was then traded to the Denver Broncos for a fourth-round draft pick.

    He only played in four games for the Broncos and averaged a weak 2.1 yards per carry. His career came to an end after five seasons.

Reche Caldwell

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    Reche Caldwell played with the Patriots for just one season after starting his career with the San Diego Chargers.

    He had the best season of his seven-year career with the Pats in 2006. He was one of Tom Brady's top targets that season.

    Caldwell racked up career highs in receptions, receiving yards and touchdowns in his lone season with the team.

    He caught 61 passes for 760 yards and four touchdowns with the Patriots after collecting just 76 catches for less than 1,000 yards during four seasons with the Chargers.

    The former Florida Gator only played one season after leaving the Pats. He made just 15 catches for 141 yards for the Washington Redskins.

    His career quickly ended after being released by the Patriots.

David Patten

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    During the Patriots' first Super Bowl-winning season in 2001-02, David Patten was a key contributor.

    Patten caught the only offensive touchdown for the Pats in their 20-17 victory over the St. Louis Rams in Super Bowl XXXVI.

    His four receiving touchdowns in 2001 were the best of his career until he caught five the following season.

    Patten would then re-set his career high with seven touchdown catches in his final season with the Pats.

    He racked up over 2,500 yards in four seasons with the team.

    He only had one successful year after leaving the team; the best three seasons of his career all came with the Patriots.

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