The New England Patriots reportedly released linebacker Brandon Spikes on Monday, following an incident where a vehicle registered to the professional football player was found abandoned near the scene of a suspected hit and run crash. ESPN's Adam Schefter tweeted the news Monday morning, commenting that the franchise wasted no time with the move.

Spikes' 2011 Mercedes-Benz Maybach was found on a median strip of Interstate 495 in Foxborough, Massachusetts, early Sunday. An OnStar navigation representative told police the driver reported hitting a deer. When police arrived the driver had left the scene, the car had damage to the front-end and no deer was found, according to a statement from Massachusetts State Police. Soon afterward, police responded to a report of a 2009 Nissan Murano that had been rear-ended near the area of the abandoned car. The occupants reported they did not see the vehicle that hit the Nissan. All three people in the car -- a 51-year-old man, a 32-year-old woman, and a 12-year-old boy -- were taken to a nearby hospital with minor injuries, police said.


Police have not yet filed charges in the case but were looking into a connection between the two incidents and are attempting to determine who was driving the Mercedes and which car hit the Nissan, according to the statement.

Spikes, 27, signed a one-year deal with the Patriots on May 18, returning to the team that drafted him in 2010. The move was a surprise, considering Spikes had previously tweeted a cryptic, critical message -- supposedly about the Patriots -- after leaving to join the Buffalo Bills.

NFL Network's Albert Breer suggested in a tweet that Spikes was on a "short-leash" with the new contract. He called the situation a public relations hit for the franchise. 

The Super Bowl-winning Patriots were recently marred by the "deflategate" cheating scandal, which left star quarterback Tom Brady suspended for four games due to his alleged role in deflating footballs. Brady, backed by the NFL Players Association, planned to appeal the suspension. In addition, former Patriots player Aaron Hernandez was convicted in April in a highly publicized murder trial.