Before kicking off their preseason opener against the Washington Football Team, the New England Patriots took their time to work out a pair of free agents. As first reported by Aaron Wilson, the team had linebackers Nick Dzubnar and Willie Harvey in town.
Dzubnar, 29, went undrafted in 2015 but found a home with the then-San Diego Chargers. Over the next five years, he appeared in a combined 67 regular season and playoff contests for the organization. Primarily a special teamer, he registered a total of 52 tackles in the game’s third phase and led the Chargers in kicking game tackles twice (2015, 2017).
Last offseason, Dzubnar joined the Tennessee Titans on a one-year contract. He played all 17 of their games and registered 13 special teams tackles — once again the most on his team. The Cal Poly product has remained unsigned since entering free agency in March, however.
Willie Harvey, 25, arrived in the NFL as a rookie free agent in 2019. The Cleveland Browns picked him up and later signed him to their practice squad. He eventually was promoted back to the active roster again and saw action in two games, playing exclusively in the kicking game.
Harvey did compete for a more prominent role the following summer, but was unable to make the team. He was released during roster cutdowns and had to spend the entire 2020 season without a team.
The Patriots currently have no open spots on their roster, and will have to trim their squad from 90 to 85 active players on August 17, but they like to keep their emergency lists updated. Dzubnar and Harvey might very well fall into this category.