RB Leon Washington released, CB Justin Green promoted to 53-man roster

Stew Milne-USA TODAY Sports

Running back Leon Washington has been released by the New England Patriots. The eight-year veteran has been a disappointment this season after battling through ankle and thigh injuries. Cornerback Justin Green will take his place on the 53-man roster, after being promoted from the practice squad.

Washington was first released by the Patriots on September 1st, but he was resigned six days later, which guaranteed his contract for the season. He ended up playing in only two games, totaling one rush for one yard, and one kick return for 19 yards.

One might think that Washington's second release confirms that the Patriots acknowledge their mistake in signing him, but that might not be the case.

Considering cornerback Alfonzo Dennard is unlikely to play Sunday night against the Denver Broncos, the Patriots probably thought they were better served having an extra cornerback on the roster. Not to mention that cornerbacks Aqib Talib and Kyle Arrington are also fighting through their own respective injuries.

If active, Justin Green, a 22-year-old undrafted rookie from Illinois, will play in his first NFL game against one of the best offenses in history.

But this doesn't close the door on the veteran Leon Washington just yet. Green could always be shifted back to the practice squad, and Washington could be resigned again.

If he manages to get healthy, he offers the Patriots a potential game-changing kick returner for the playoffs. Leon Washington is tied for the NFL's all-time lead in kick returns for touchdowns with 8.

However, an alternative perspective could be that rookie wide receiver Josh Boyce has won the trust of the coaches, and will be the lead kick returner going forward.

In any case, not too much should be made about this move. After all, Leon Washington is a guy that has barely played this season.

It's almost like he was never here.

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