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Tebow Safe, Veteran LB Koutovides Among Patriots Cuts

Foxborough, Mass. — Tim Tebow survived the New England Patriots’ cut to 77 players on Monday.

The Patriots must make two more moves before today’s league deadline to get to 75.

The final 53-man roster will be announced Saturday and Tebow has no idea of what will happen between now and then.

“I’m just focused on today,” Tebow said Monday, after the team went through its first practice since Thursday night’s 40-9 preseason loss to the Detroit Lions.

Tebow, trying for a roster spot as the No. 3 quarterback, didn’t play in that game and there has been speculation he’ll get plenty of playing time in Thursday night’s preseason finale against the New York Giants.

Prior to Monday, though, there was also speculation the left-hander could be gone in the first cuts.

In other words, no one seems to know what’s going to happen.

“I learned very early on in my career at Florida to worry about what I can control and the things that I can’t control I’m not going to spend time worrying about,” Tebow said. “But I can control my attitude, my focus every single day and those are the things that I’m going to worry about.”

Nine-year NFL linebacker Niko Koutovides was among those released.

Koutovides, who played the past two years in New England, saw action in the final 14 regular-season and both postseason games last year. He made eight special teams tackles and one on defense in the regular season, then made one stop in the playoffs.

While Tebow went through another day of “trying to get better,” wide receiver Danny Amendola and linebacker Jermaine Cunningham, who both sat out the game in Detroit, were back on the practice field.

And on a back field, tight end Rob Gronkowski, coming off back and arm surgeries, was working on individual drills.

The club has to make a decision on Gronkowski by Saturday.

If the Patriots think he won’t be able to play until Week 7, they would leave him on the physically unable to perform list, which would mean he has to wait six weeks before he can practice or play.

If the Patriots believe he could be ready before Game 7, he will be on the roster, taking up a spot until he’s ready.

Coach Bill Belichick, addressing reporters Monday, said the club is going about the business of finalizing the roster — and that includes the usual late-camp talks with other teams about potential acquisitions.

“There’s a lot of things we’re still kicking around,” he said. “Some things will take care of themselves, some things will settle themselves.”

As far as Thursday’s loss, the players didn’t have to be reminded Monday about what happened.

Asked if he and his teammates got the message from Belichick after the game, second-year linebacker Dont’a Hightower said, “Message might be an understatement.

“He definitely said what he had to say and I feel like everybody’s got that and everybody’s bought in. Practice and film study and everything like that went smooth today, so we just have to pull together.”

Said Belichick: “Regardless of what happened Thursday night, we’ve still got a lot of work to do on our football team. There are a lot of things we need to work on — one, the health of our team, the (needed) rest of our team, certainly our execution, preparation, all those things. We need plenty of work there, too.”

NOTES: Amendola, aware of the team’s policy when it comes to injuries, wouldn’t say if he would have played had last Thursday’s game been a regular-season contest.

... Also cut were wide receiver Kamar Aiken, rookie cornerback Brandon Jones, cornerback LeQuan Lewis and rookie long snapper Mike Zupancic. Rookie defensive lineman Cory Grissom and tackle Markus Zusevics were placed on injured reserve and defensive lineman Armond Armstead and wide receiver Mark Harrison were placed on the reserve/non-football injury list. In addition, cornerback Stephen Morris and defensive lineman Scott Vallone were re-signed.