The defensive tackle depth chart has thinned by one for the New England Patriots.
Last Sunday at MetLife Stadium, Ekuale played 10 defensive snaps before being downgraded to out with an elbow injury at halftime. He recorded his first career forced fumble in what became a 15-10 win.
Ekuale, 29, entered the NFL as an undrafted free agent in 2018. The Washington State product made stops with the Cleveland Browns and Jacksonville Jaguars prior to signing to the practice squad in Foxborough at the beginning of the 2021 regular season.
Through 25 games during his Patriots tenure, Ekuale has totaled 22 tackles to go with four sacks and one batted pass. The 6-foot-3, 305-pound free agent re-signed in March and made the initial 53-man roster in August.
Due to an ankle injury, starting defensive tackle Davon Godchaux was also ruled out during the AFC East matchup in East Rutherford.
New England has since opened a spot on the practice squad by releasing cornerback William Hooper.
Hooper, 23, signed midway through September. The undrafted free agent from Northwestern State spent training camp with the Green Bay Packers following a tryout at rookie minicamp in May. Listed at 5-foot-10, 180 pounds, he started 33 of his 46 appearances with the FCS Demons and earned second-team All-Southland Conference honors last fall.
The Dallas Cowboys host Sunday’s 4:25 p.m. ET kickoff at AT&T Stadium.