The New England Patriots suffered a handful of injuries during their loss against the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday, with one of them standing out among the rest due to its season-ending nature: rotational linebacker and core special teamer Brandon Copeland suffered a pectoral tear that will force him to undergo surgery and subsequently knock him out for the remainder of the season.
Shortly after initial reports of the injury, Copeland took to social media to share his thoughts on his situation:
The COMEBACK has already happened
Judging by the prayers, messages and love I have received y’all already know I’ll be back better than ever to continue writing the [football] chapter of my story
Thank you to everyone who has reached out and prayed for me
After signing a one-year, $1.05 million minimum salary deal with the Patriots in March, Copeland was able to make the team’s 53-man roster as a rotational linebacker and core special teamer. In this dual-role he appeared in all six of New England’s games so far while playing 16.2 percent of the team’s defensive snaps as well as 80.6 percent in the kicking game — the third highest playing time share among the Patriots’ special teamers.
With him now out for the rest of the year, New England will need to look elsewhere to fill his roles. As head coach Bill Belichick acknowledged during his media conference call on Tuesday, this will not be easy.
“Brandon’s done a good job to give us some versatility,” Belichick said about the 29-year-old. “He’s played for us on all four downs, in the kicking game and some inside linebacker and outside linebacker. So, he’s an experienced player that in our situation will be hard to replace.”