The New England Patriots have signed an actual American patriot.
The Pats announced over the weekend that they have signed Paul Quessenberry, a former defensive lineman at the Naval Academy, as a tight end, but the position conversion isn’t the only news – Quessenberry also hasn’t played football in more than five years, as he was serving in the Marine Corps.
Quessenberry, 28, had a tryout last week, and earned his first NFL contrast from it. He played 38 games with Navy prior to graduating in 2014, but joined the Marine Corps after a tryout with the Texans that summer came and went without a contract.
“He was my class at the Academy, we were teammates for five years going back to the prep school. You talk about a special guy that is as tough as they come. It means a lot to me to share this experience,” Patriots long snapper Joe Cardona, a teammate at Navy, said on Sunday. “He played defensive end and was always a high-effort, high-energy guy, played on special teams. From my experience with him as a teammate, he’s an incredible teammate, incredible person, and like I said, I’m exciting to have him out here working with us.”
Quessenberry may not be the next Rob Gronkowski, he does have one Gronk-like trait: two brothers in the NFL. Much as Gronk had two siblings playing fullback in the NFL, Paul Quessenberry’s brothers, Scott and David, are offensive linemen for the Los Angeles Chargers and Tennessee Titans, respectively.
He becomes the sixth tight end on the Patriots roster, a group that is large in number but not in NFL ability; Quessenberry is one of four rookies in the group – the Pats selected both Devin Asiasi and Dalton Keene in the third round of the 2020 NFL Draft, and then signed Jake Burt as an undrafted rookie free agent – and Paul Butler, signed this past offseason, has been in the league since 2018 but never played in a regular-season game.
The Pats’ only TE with NFL snaps to his name is Ryan Izzo, a seventh-round pick in 2018 who had six catches for 114 yards and one score in four games played with New England last season.