4:32pm: New England officially released Fletcher with a failed physical designation, ESPN.com’s Mike Reiss reports (on Twitter).
Fletcher, who did not play in a game last season, plans to open a gym in Montana, according to Howe.
Last May, Fletcher agreed to re-sign with the Patriots after spending the 2014 season with the Bucs. But the career reserve who started 10 games in five seasons did not suit up for the Pats in 2015. Fletcher tore his ACL in Tampa Bay’s final regular-season game in 2014 and his mom reportedly talked him out of retirement last spring, when he signed a one-year deal to return to the Pats.
The 29-year-old Fletcher opened last season on the PUP list but served as a key special teams player in New England from 2010-13 after catching on with the Patriots initially as a UDFA.
Fletcher made five starts for the AFC champion Pats in 2011 and four with the Bucs in ’14.