The Patriots will be without two of last year's defensive starters when training camp begins later this week.
Both Dont'a Hightower and Alan Branch were placed on the physically unable to perform list on Monday. They are eligible to come off the list at any time. Once they are removed from the list, they will be eligible to practice fully. Players on PUP count against the 90-man training-camp roster.
Undrafted rookie tackle Andrew Jelks will begin camp on the active/non-football injury list. The Vanderbilt product dealt with knee injuries that kept him off the field each of the last two seasons.
Neither Hightower, nor Branch, nor Jelks participated in spring practices at Gillette Stadium. Hightower was present for voluntary work, but during practices open to the media he typically did some conditioning off to the side. Branch skipped optional team activities (as he usually does), and though he was in Foxboro for mandatory minicamp, he did not practice during that three-day stretch.
Hightower was limited last season with knee and shoulder injuries. The MMQB.com's Albert Breer said on Sports Sunday that Hightower's health concerns made teams reticent to make him offers that would lure him away from New England.
James Harrison was a larger than life figure during his time in Pittsburgh.
It was as if God molded him to be a member of the Steelers: massive, physical, and an absolute bruiser.
But at the end of the day he is a football player. And athletes in this sport don't particuarly like time on the bench.
Mike Tomlin and the rest of the Steelers organization were reminded of this fact in a very harsh manner.
At the end of the December, Harrison made a late season move to sign with the Patriots. It left his former teammates in Pittsburgh frustrated, and his former fans confused.
But at the end of the day he just wanted to be on the football field again. And that's exactly where Belichick put him.
Harrison had the opportunity to appear in many more situations, and had several sacks at the end of the season.
Now there is a new report from Christopher Price of the Boston Sports Journal that he could re-sign with the Patriots in 2018.
A source close to Price and Harrison said "there's a reasonable chance" that he could be on the roster next year.
He will be playing this upcoming season at age 40, and has previously stated he'd like to play one or two more seasons.
There have been all kinds of theories of what ultimately kept Josh McDaniels from taking the Indianapolis Colts head coaching job.
NBC Sports Boston Patriots Insider Tom E. Curran offered his here and here. Ex-Pats linebacker Willie McGinest said he was told it wasn't because McDaniels was promised to eventually succeed Bill Belichick.
Now comes Sports Illustrated's Peter King, who told NBCSports Network's "PFT Live" that you can cross off the theory that McDaniels' reversal was about not wanting to move his family to Indianapolis.
“This had nothing to do with his family,” King said. “It was about the Patriots giving him a better option than Indianapolis.”
More here from NBCSports.com's Pro Football Talk.