The New England Patriots’ practice squad keeps getting thinner. After carrying just eight of a possible 10 players all week long, the team freed up another spot on Saturday by placing safety Obi Melifonwu on the injured reserve list. The 25-year-old, who was not spotted at practice this week presumably because of the undisclosed injury that forced the move to IR, now becomes the 11th player whose season will come to an end on the reserve list.
The Patriots, of course, have no return designations left after already using one on first-round rookie wide receiver N’Keal Harry and the second on starting left tackle Isaiah Wynn. The former might make his NFL debut later today against the Philadelphia Eagles, the latter is eligible to return to action for next week’s game versus the Dallas Cowboys. Consequently, no players left on injured reserve can be re-activated this season.
Melifonwu originally joined the Patriots in early November last year after the Oakland Raiders decided to part ways with their former second-round draft pick. He went on to appear in three games for the club en route to its victory in Super Bowl 53, but was unable to build on his limited experience over the 2019 offseason and training camp. As a result, the team released him on roster cutdown day and signed him to its practice squad.
Now, Melifonwu is moved off the developmental team again to leave the following group of players left standing:
FS Nate Brooks
OC Tyler Gauthier
LB Terez Hall
LB Calvin Munson
WR Devin Ross
DT Nick Thurman
OG Najee Toran
As said above, the Patriots have three open spots on their practice squad at the moment. For head coach Bill Belichick, however, there does not appear to be a rush to fill the available positions: “We’ll look at it week to week, but we’re not married to anything, other than we can’t go over 10 — we know that,” he said during a press conference earlier this week.” If it’s the right fit and something that helps us and we feel it’s worthwhile, then we’ll do it, and if not, then we’ll see what comes along.”