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The Boston Globe

Sports

PATRIOTS NOTEBOOK

Belichick still deciding who’s best punter for Patriots

When the Patriots announced the release of 10 players Friday, rookie punter Ryan Allen was not on the list.

The two-time Ray Guy Award winner as the nation’s best collegiate punter stuck around through all of the spring and training camp, and has shown that even if he hasn’t beaten out Zoltan Mesko for the Patriots’ punting job, he’s worthy of a job in the NFL.

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“I think it’s been competitive all the way through, from the spring to training camp into the games,” coach Bill Belichick said Friday. “I think both guys have performed well.

“Obviously any time at a position like that, there are going to be some plays that are less than perfect or that there are room for improvement on, but overall they’ve been competitive with each other and they’re competitive to the level of play at that position throughout the league.

“We have to talk about that one.”

Mesko, entering the final year of his rookie contract, has quickly made himself part of the Boston community with his various charitable endeavors, and is the rare player at that position who has fans ardent enough to buy his jersey.

Though Mesko did seem to have an advantage over Allen performance-wise, if money becomes part of the decision, Mesko’s $1.3 million salary for this year could mean he’ll be looking for a new team. Allen is slated to make the rookie minimum of $405,000 this year.

Fine mess for Lions

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The NFL fined five Lions players for infractions in the team’s preseason Week 3 win over the Patriots.

Defensive linemen Willie Young, C.J. Mosley, and Nick Fairley, tight end Joseph Fauria, and linebacker Rocky McIntosh were each fined $7,875.

Young was fined for unsportsmanlike conduct after grabbing Tom Brady and pointing a finger in his face, which also earned him a benching from coach Jim Schwartz. Fairley, Mosley, and McIntosh were fined for unnecessary roughness, and Fauria, the nephew of former Patriot Christian Fauria, was fined for a third-quarter chop block.

Ben Volin of the Globe staff contributed to this report.

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