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Patriots fill Josh Gordon’s roster spot by keeping tight end Eric Tomlinson

Related: Trying to make sense of the Patriots’ decision to place Josh Gordon on IR, release him later

NFL: OCT 21 Patriots at Jets Photo by Gregory Fisher/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The New England Patriots had a busy Wednesday. First, the team made the acquisitions of wide receiver Mohamed Sanu, special teamer Justin Bethel and practice squad offensive lineman Aaron Monteiro official while also announcing the release of safety Jordan Richards and tight end Eric Tomlinson off their 53-man roster. Later, the Patriots made another move by placing wide receiver Josh Gordon on the injured reserve list.

This left the team with an open spot on its active team, or so everyone initially thought. Today, however, the Patriots clarified that they actually never had an open spot in the first place because Tomlinson was never officially released despite the team’s previous announcement: the move was not listed on the NFL’s transaction wire on Wednesday, and the 27-year-old therefore remains on the team for the time being.

Tomlinson originally was signed by New England last week in response to injuries suffered by fellow tight ends Ryan Izzo (concussion) and Matt LaCosse (knee). He was subsequently made active for New England’s 33-0 win over the New York Jets on Monday night and played 38 of a possible 82 offensive snaps as a blocking tight end who also saw action as a fullback/lead blocker in the running game.

What caused the Patriots to change course yesterday is everyone’s guess at this point in time. The most logical explanation, from the limited information that we have so far, is that Gordon’s status in relation to the wide receiver position, either in terms of role or injury, or Izzo’s concussion — neither of the two players was present for Wednesday’s practice — may have played a role in the team’s decision making process.