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Patriots release WR Malcolm Mitchell

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The Patriots are moving on from their young receiver.

Super Bowl LI - New England Patriots v Atlanta Falcons Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

The New England Patriots are releasing wide receiver Malcolm Mitchell, per Jason La Canfora.

Mitchell was the Patriots 4th round pick in 2016 out of the University of Georgia and he played a key role in the team’s run and eventual victory in Super Bowl LI. There were concerns about his knees entering the draft and they forced the young receiver to the sideline for the entire 2017 season and the team does not think he’s healthy enough to play in 2018.

Despite only playing for half of his rookie season, Mitchell trails only Julian Edelman (2009 seventh round), Deion Branch (2002 second round), David Givens (2002 seventh round), Aaron Dobson (2013 second round), and Bethel Johnson (2003 second round) for most receiving yards by a Patriots receiver drafted by Belichick. Kenbrell Thompkins (2013 undrafted) also has more receiving yards.

Off the field, Mitchell has been an incredible force for childhood education and reading.

We will find out if the Patriots are injured-waiving Mitchell, or straight-up waiving him and allowing him to sign with another team. Best of luck to Mitchell and his future pursuits.

Update: Mitchell has been waived without the injury distinction and will be a free agent if he clears waivers.

Mitchell is the second receiver released in recent weeks, following the release of Jordan Matthews. The Patriots recently signed Devin Lucien, Paul Turner, and Eric Decker.