The New England Patriots received a major boost last Sunday when running back Dion Lewis returned to the field after an ACL tear. The injury and the subsequent rehab forced him to start the season on the physically unable to perform list (PUP) off which he was activated November 12.
While Lewis did get activated, two other players placed on PUP prior to the start of the regular season were not: offensive linemen Sebastian Vollmer and Tre’ Jackson. Consequently, their seasons are now over, according to Field Yates:
All players on PUP/NFI who did not begin practicing by yesterday are ineligible to play this season. Example: Patriots OT Sebastian Vollmer.
Since the Patriots were off yesterday and neither Vollmer nor Jackson did return to practice last week, they will stay on PUP for the rest off the year. This means that their season is over.
Vollmer is in the final year of a four-year contract he signed prior to the 2013 season and has been battling a variety of injuries. Therefore, he was expected to stay on PUP for the remainder of the season. In his place, Marcus Cannon became the starter at right tackle and is currently in the middle of what is arguably the best season of his six-year career. Cameron Fleming and LaAdrian Waddle serve as the backups.
While Vollmer, who turns 33 next July, could return on a cheap deal next offseason, it would not be a surprise to see the Patriots move on from the veteran tackle. Overall, the former second-round pick has played 98 games for New England and won a championship in February 2015.
Jackson, who was a fourth round pick in 2015 and started nine games his rookie season, was placed on PUP due to offseason knee surgery. While early signs were encouraging that the 23-year old would be able to return to practice, it did not happen.
Consequently, the Patriots will move forward with the three guards currently on their roster: starters Joe Thuney (LG) and Shaq Mason (RG) as well as backup Ted Karras. Had he been activated, Jackson would likely not have regained a starting role he held for parts of last year.