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Patriots Release Shawn Crable?

Today, in a surprising move, the New England Patriots have announced the release of outside linebacker Shawn Crable.  The 6-5, 250 pound outside linebacker was a third round pick of the Patriots in 2008.  He spent the majority of his first two seasons in the league on injured reserve, before ultimately being released at the start of training camp this July after he couldn't pass his physical.  

After working hard to get back in shape and get healthy, Crable was re-signed to the team's practice squad in early September.  By months end, and several practice player of the week awards, Crable was promoted to the active roster.  But this is where it gets weird.  Crable has played six games for the Patriots since being activated.  His best game? Two days ago against the Steelers when he picked up his first half sack in his most extensive playing time of his young career.  While Crable hasn't looked especially gifted out there, he certainly has looked capable enough.  The fact that he's been active for five straight games and has had an increased role makes this news even stranger.

While some could speculate that the Patriots plan on bringing Crable back via an extension a la Tully Banta-Cain and Eric Alexander last year, I don't see the Patriots going in that direction.  For one, Crable must now pass through waivers.  If Crable was a player the Patriots didn't want to risk losing.  Secondly, Crable was already signed through 2011.  So again, there would be no need to cut him.

Therefore, the Shawn Crable era appears to be coming to another end.  Unless of course, he passes through waivers and lands on the practice squad.