SUBSCRIBE NOW
$5 for 3 months. Save 83%.
SUBSCRIBE NOW
$5 for 3 months. Save 83%.

Tuesday's NFL: New Patriots kicker will remove controversial tattoo

Detroit News wire services

Patriots rookie kicker Justin Rohrwasser appeared on WBZ-TV in Boston on Monday to express shame and regret over a controversial “3 Percenters” tattoo on his left arm. The fifth-round pick explained that he was going to have the tattoo removed and explained why he had the ink in the first place.

Rohrwasser, who was drafted from Marshall, started his collegiate career at the University of Rhode Island (2015-2016). A look at his Instagram page suggests that he got the tattoo sometime during his two-year stint with the Rams. The tattoo is three roman numerals surrounded by a circle of stars. That is the logo for the anti-government group, which provided security during the deadline rally in Charlottesville, Va.

New Patriots kicker Justin Rohrwasser says a tattoo on his arm is not representative of a loosely organized right-wing militia group that has adopted the symbol.

“I was 18 when I got it. It was described to me as the percentage of colonists that rose up against the government of the British,” Rohrwasser said. “I was like, ‘Wow, that is such an American sentiment, a patriotic sentiment.’ Coming from a military family, I thought that really spoke to me. I always was proud to be an American. I’m very proud to be an American.

“As soon as I saw what it was linked to on Saturday, it was exactly that time I knew I had to get it totally taken off my body,” he added. “I said cover it up (to reporters after the draft), but I want to get it removed from my body. It’s shameful that I had it on there ignorantly.”

He told the New England media on Saturday that he comes from a military family and wanted to get tattoos to honor the military. Rohrwasser has multiple on his arms. He has an American flag on his right forearm. On his level arm, he has the words “Liberty or Death,” among other tattoos.

Rohrwasser said that he didn’t know how controversial the tattoo was until after the Patriots drafted him. At the time, someone cropped the photo and tweeted it next to the group’s logo. The photos went viral.

“We were celebrating and hugging. So happy. I went on to Twitter. I saw someone posted a picture of me and my tattoo and linking me to some horrific events, obviously Charlottesville, and these horrible things,” Rohrwasser said. “The first time I found out what it was linked to was Saturday. That’s why it was so surprising.”

The Patriots made Rohrwasser, from Clifton Park, N.Y., the top kicker in the 2020 NFL draft. Last year, he was named the Conference USA Special Teams Player of the Year. He said after the draft that he talked a lot with Patriots special teams coach Cam Achord and that the team even gave him physiological testing. He’s in line to replace long-time veteran Stephen Gostkowski.

Rohrwasser expressed regret over the situation and apologized.

“I’m sorry for all my (friends) and family that have to defend me. Putting them in that compromising position is one of the biggest regrets I’ll ever have. To them, I’m sorry,” Rohrwasser said. “I’m going to learn from this. I’m going to take ownership of it. This is not who I am. No matter what, that’s not who I am. Hopefully, you will all find that out.”

Draft date set

After a successful virtual, stay-at-home experience this year, the NFL plans to hold its draft outdoors in downtown Cleveland next year from April 29 to May 1.

The dates were announced three days after the completion of a unique draft that went smoothly despite logistical obstacles due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

TV ratings soared over the weekend as fans soaked in every moment of a rare live sporting event held in recent months. Commissioner Roger Goodell announced this year’s selections for the first three rounds from his basement in the New York City suburbs, and viewers got to see players react and celebrate at home with loved ones.

The NFL officially awarded Cleveland the 2021 NFL Draft last year. The Browns will be celebrating their 75th anniversary next year.

Details are still being finalized, but the Cleveland draft will be held at locations around FirstEnergy Stadium and the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

Extra points

After an inquiry, the NFL determined that Tom Brady violated no league rules during his visit to Buccaneers offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich’s home.

Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk questioned whether Brady was violating NFL rules that prohibit personal contact between players and coaches prior to the start of the offseason program.

But as far as the NFL was concerned, Brady was doing what any new player, much less a quarterback, would want to do — and that’s pick up the playbook of his new team.

... The Saints agreed to terms on a one-year contract with unrestricted free agent quarterback Jameis Winston.

... The Texans released veteran safety Tashuan Gipson just one year after signing him to a three-year, $22.5 million contract.

... The Steelers picked up the fifth-year option on All-Pro outside linebacker T.J. Watt.

... Free agent wide receiver Rashard Higgins agreed to a one-year contract to stay with the Browns.

... The Chiefs released two-time Pro Bowl punter Dustin Colquitt, whose 15-year career with the franchise allowed him to set numerous club records, including the most games played and most postseason appearances.

... Harland Svare, a starting linebacker on the Giants’ 1956 NFL championship team and later the team’s defensive coach while still a player, has died, He was 89.

Detroit News wire services contributed.