According to Mike Reiss of ESPNBoston.com, the New England Patriots worked out former Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback Terry Hawthorne and wide receiver Reggie Dunn on Tuesday.
WR Reggie Dunn (Utah), DB Terry Hawthorne (Illinois), DE Emeka Onyenekqu (La. Laf). LB Taylor Reed (SMU) work out for Pats, per @FieldYates.
— Mike Reiss (@MikeReiss) September 3, 2013
Hawthorne was drafted by the Steelers in the fifth-round this past April out of Illinois, but a knee injury forced him to miss all of the offseason program and most of training camp. Once healthy, Hawthorne played in the final two preseason games, but his play on defense and special teams was evidently not good enough to warrant keeping him on the 53 man roster. In fact, the Steelers didn't even sign him to the their practice squad, so defensive backs coach Carnell Lake must have thought the young cornerback didn't have much upside to him.
Dunn was originally signed as an undrafted free agent out of Utah. While he has blazing speed, he doesn't have much upside as a wide receiver. While Dunn was fine as a kick returner, he didn't show reliable enough hands as a punt returner during the preseason. Not only did he fail to catch a few punts cleanly, his decision to return a punt deep in the Steelers end in the preseason finale that resulted in a safety showed poor judgment on his part. He was trying to make a play and it backfired on him.
The Patriots are really juggling the bottom end of their roster right now and are leaving no stone unturned. We will have to wait and see if either player is signed over the course of the next few days.