What started as one of the most promising rookie seasons in recent New England Patriots memory appears to be over.
Cornerback Christian Gonzalez is ”likely to miss the rest of the 2023 season“ because of a torn labrum suffered against the Dallas Cowboys in Week 4, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport. The first-round draft pick is expected to undergo surgery soon.
Gonzalez, 21, went down in the first quarter of the Patriots’ game against Dallas. He made a tackle on a run play but landed awkwardly on his right shoulder.
The youngster walked off the field under his own power, and eventually was ruled out for the remainder of the contest. The Patriots went on to lose 38-3.
Spending his college career at Colorado and Oregon, Gonzalez joined the Patriots as the 17th overall selection in this year’s draft. He quickly proved himself a starting-caliber player, and was given a prominent role in the New England secondary from Day 1 — emerging as one of the unit’s most valuable players.
Up until his injury, Gonzalez had missed only one of the Patriots’ 210 defensive snaps. Along the way he registered one interception and one sack, and competed well against some of the NFL’s top wide receivers.
Gonzalez is the latest member of the Patriots’ cornerback group to go down with an injury. Jack Jones and Marcus Jones remain on injured reserve due to hamstring and shoulder injuries, respectively, while Jonathan Jones missed the last three games because of an ankle issue.
The Patriots, who had to rely on Myles Bryant and Shaun Wade as their primary cornerbacks for much of the game against the Cowboys, bolstered their cornerback depth on Wednesday by re-acquiring J.C. Jackson via trade. The former Pro Bowler had spent the last two seasons with the Los Angeles Chargers.
The Patriots will host the 2-2 New Orleans Saints at Gillette Stadium on Sunday.