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Patriots reportedly place LB Shea McClellin on injured reserve

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New England loses one of its versatile defenders.

NFL: Super Bowl LI-New England Patriots vs Atlanta Falcons Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

For the last month, the New England Patriots have been forced to play without linebacker Shea McClellin, who suffered an undisclosed injury early in training camp. The team did still keep him on its active roster despite the injury – at least until now. According to ESPN's Field Yates, the team has opted to place McClellin on its injured reserve list:

Source: the Patriots are placing LB Shea McClellin on IR. He's been out since early this preseason.

Last week, ESPN Boston's Mike Reiss speculated that McClellin might be a candidate to be moved to the reserve list – turns out that Reiss was right. While the Patriots kept him on the team through roster cutdown day, they apparently have made the move today, which might be an indicator to New England's plans: Placing him on injured reserve today allows the Patriots to potentially reactivate the 28-year old later during the season.

The move will open a spot on the Patriots' 53-man roster – one that is expected to be filled by running back Brandon Bolden, who was released on Saturday – while simultaneously leaving the team with six linebackers. Defensive signal caller Dont'a Hightower is joined by versatile options Kyle Van Noy and Harvey Langi as well as off-the-line players David Harris and Elandon Roberts and special teamer Marquis Flowers.