After an eventful day that saw Robert Gallery retire from the NFL, the Patriots had even more new to announce. In the dead heat of the fullback Training Camp battle, the team announced that Tony Fiammetta has been placed on the exempt/left squad list, and will miss the entire 2012 season.
According to the team, Fiammetta needs to deal with a "family issue", before resuming his football career with the Patriots. Fiammetta said in a press release that he is "excited" to return for the 2013 season with the team.
In a corresponding move, the Patriots announced that they have signed fullback Kareem Huggins to an undisclosed contract. He last played in the NFL in 2010 with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, where he began his career. He was out of football in 2011. In six career NFL games, Huggins has four carries for 11 yards.
With Fiammetta out of contention, the fullback race could be Spencer Larsen's to lose. Larsen has split time on the first team with Fiammetta, and has versatility as a linebacker and special teams player. He's also got experience in the Patriots' offense, having played for offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels when he was the head coach in Denver.
With the Patriots showing two-back formations throughout training camp, it appears that this team will carry a fullback in 2012. It will either be Larsen, Eric Kettani, or the newcomer Huggins. Bank on Larsen, at this point.