Ballard, 24, was claimed off waivers and awarded to the Patriots from the New York Giants on June 12, 2012. Ballard spent the entire 2012 season on the Reserve/Physically Unable to Perform List with a knee injury that was sustained in Super Bowl XLVI. The 6-foot-6, 260-pounder, originally entered the NFL as a rookie free agent out of Ohio State by signing with the New York Giants on April 25, 2010. After spending his first season rotating between the practice squad and the active roster for the Giants, Ballard played in 14 games with 13 starts in the regular season in 2011 and caught 38 passes for 604 yards and four touchdowns. He played in all four postseason games, including Super Bowl XLVI against the Patriots, and finished with five receptions for 43 yards. Ballard caught two passes for 10 yards in the Super Bowl. He was released by the Giants on June 11, 2012.
Benard, 28, was originally signed by the Patriots on Jan. 24, 2013. The 6-foot-2, 260-pounder, is a veteran of three NFL seasons with the Cleveland Browns. Benard originally entered the NFL as a rookie free agent with Cleveland out of Jackson State in 2009. He has played in 25 NFL games with two starts and has registered 39 total tackles, 11½ sacks and two passes defensed. Benard began last season on the reserve/non-football injury list and was then released by Cleveland on Oct. 10.
Fells, 29, originally joined the Patriots as an unrestricted free agent on March 20, 2012. The 6-foot-4, 260-pounder, is a veteran of six NFL seasons with Atlanta (2006), St. Louis (2008-10), Denver (2011) and the Patriots (2012). He originally entered the NFL as a rookie free agent with Atlanta in 2006 out of UC-Davis. Fells has played in 71 NFL games with 30 starts and has totaled 92 receptions for 1,086 yards and eight touchdowns. Last season, Fells played in 13 games with four starts and caught four passes for 85 yards. Fells made the 53-man roster as a rookie with the Falcons but was inactive for all 16 games in 2006. He spent the entire 2007 season on the practice squad of the Oakland Raiders after being released by Atlanta prior to the start of the regular season. Fells began the 2008 season on the Tampa Bay practice squad before being signed to the St. Louis 53-man roster. Following three seasons with the Rams, Fells signed with Denver as an unrestricted free agent in 2011.
Haggerty, 25, was signed by the Patriots on Aug. 1, 2013. He was originally signed by Cleveland as a rookie free agent out of Southwestern Oklahoma on April 30, 2010. The 6-foot-1, 195-pounder, spent his rookie season on Injured Reserve. He was released by Cleveland at the end of the 2011 training camp and spent part of the 2011 season on the Chicago practice squad. Haggerty was a four-year letterman in college, totaling 173 receptions for 2,726 yards and 23 touchdowns.
Rivera, 27, made the Patriots 53-man roster out of training camp last year and played in the first two games of the season before being released on Sept. 19. He was signed by Miami on Sept. 25 and played in one game for the Dolphins before being released on Oct. 3 and re-signed to the Patriots 53-man roster on Oct, 31. Rivera originally entered the NFL as a rookie free agent out of Kansas by signing with the Chicago Bears in 2009. After being released by Chicago, Rivera was signed by Tennessee to the practice squad. He was released by Tennessee after training camp in 2010 and joined Green Bay’s practice squad before being signed by Miami to the 53-man roster late in the season. Rivera spent most of the 2011 season on the Patriots’ practice squad after being released by Miami following training camp.
FIRST-YEAR PLAYER RELEASED
Patterson, 25, was signed by the Patriots on August 2, 2013. He was originally signed by Kansas City as rookie free agent out of Texas A&M on July 27, 2011. The 6-foot-4, 295-pounder, spent parts of the last two seasons on the Chiefs’ practice squad. Patterson was a defensive lineman during his college career.
2013 ROOKIE FREE AGENTS RELEASED
Bartholomew, 23, was signed by the Patriots as a rookie free agent out of Tennessee on May 3, 2013. The 6-foot-2, 240-pounder, played in 31 games with 13 starts during his career at Tennessee.
Peña, 26, was claimed off waivers by the Patriots on Aug. 28, 2013. He was originally signed by Green Bay as a rookie free agent out of Mississippi on May 10, 2013 and was released by the Packers on Aug. 25, 2013. The 6-foot-2, 330-pounder, was a two-year letterman at Mississippi, who played in 23 games with six starts and finished his career with 45 tackles (19 solos) and two sacks. Peña took four years off after high school to help provide for his family before beginning his college career at ASA College in New York for two seasons before earning a scholarship to Mississippi for his final two college seasons.
Stankiewitch, 23, originally signed with the New England as a rookie free agent out of Penn State on May 3, 2013 and was released on July 25, 2013. He was re-signed by the Patriots on Aug. 5, 2013. The 6-foot-4, 305-pounder, started all 25 games at center as a junior and senior at Penn State.
Vallone, 23, was originally signed by the Patriots on August 1, 2013. He was released on Aug. 19 and re-signed by the patriots on Aug. 26. The 6-foot-3, 275-pounder, was a four-year starter at defensive tackle for Rutgers. During his four-years as a starter, Vallone recorded 195 total tackles and 8 1/2 sacks.