The Patriots announced on Friday that they've added another body to their edge-defender group, which took a bit of a hit on Thursday night.
The team picked up undrafted rookie free agent defensive end Keionta Davis and released undrafted rookie defensive back Dwayne Thomas to make room.
Davis (6-foot-4, 260 pounds) was a two-time All-American at the University of Tennessee-Cattanooga, who finished his career with 31 total sacks. He was projected by many to be drafted in the middle-to-late rounds but went unclaimed due to a bulging disc in his neck that was found during a physical at the NFL Scouting Combine.
It sounds as though it was a relatively unusual injury in that, according to a Times Free Press story in May, Davis had no idea anything was wrong. He finished the 2016 season as the Southern Conference defensive player of the year, he participated in the Senior Bowl, and he told doctors that he hadn't felt pain at any pain.
NFL teams reportedly had significant interest in Davis leading up to the draft, and Bill Belichick flew to Chattanooga to conduct a private workout with Davis, the Times Free Press reported. Now Belichick will have a chance at a longer look at the first-team All-American.
New England's renewed interest in Davis makes sense in that it could use some help on the edge. With Rob Ninkovich choosing retirement, there is an opportunity at that spot. Trey Flowers, Geneo Grissom, Kony Ealy, Derek Rivers, Deatrich Wise and Harvey Langi are among the players who have seen time on the outside, but question marks abound after Flowers.
Perhaps Davis, if fully healthy, can provide the Patriots another option.
NEW YORK - Oakland running back Marshawn Lynch was suspended for one game without pay by the NFL on Friday for shoving a game official during the Raiders' victory over Kansas City on Thursday night.
Lynch was ejected from the game after he shoved line judge Julian Mapp.
The scuffle started when Oakland quarterback Derek Carr was hit late on a run by Kansas City's Marcus Peters midway through the second quarter. Raiders offensive linemen Kelechi Osemele and Donald Penn immediately confronted Peters, and Lynch sprinted onto the field from the bench to join the fray. Mapp tried to break up the fight, but Lynch pushed him and grabbed his jersey. Lynch also got a personal foul.
NFL vice president of football operations Jon Runyan wrote a letter to Lynch, saying:
"You made deliberate physical contact with one of our game officials as he was diffusing an active confrontation between players. You were disqualified for your inappropriate and unsportsmanlike actions. Your conduct included pushing the game official and grabbing his jersey. ... You were not directly involved in the active confrontation that the game official was attempting to diffuse, nor were you a participant in the play that initiated the confrontation. You were the only player from either team who ran from the sideline to midfield to insert himself into a situation in which he was not directly involved."
Lynch will be eligible to return to Oakland's active roster on Oct. 30, the day after the Raiders' game against the Buffalo Bills.
Lynch finished the game with two carries for 9 yards.
The Raiders rallied to win 31-30 on a touchdown pass by Carr on the final play, and Lynch was in the locker room after the game congratulating his teammates.
Lynch came out of retirement this season and was traded from Seattle to the Raiders. Lynch said he wanted to make a comeback so he could give something back to his hometown of Oakland before the Raiders move to Las Vegas in 2020.
Lynch has rushed for 266 yards and two touchdowns in seven games.
As expected, after not practicing all week, Patriots cornerbacks Stephon Gilmore (concussion) and Eric Rowe (groin) have been ruled out for Sunday night’s game against the Atlanta Falcons.
The full Patriots and Falcons injury report: