Patriots

Patriots release of Demaryius Thomas doesn't necessarily mean the marriage is over

Patriots release of Demaryius Thomas doesn't necessarily mean the marriage is over

When the Patriots announce their initial 53-man roster, Demaryius Thomas won't be there. But that doesn't mean Thomas is done in New England.

According to Ian Rapoport, the 31-year-old who reeled in two touchdown receptions in the preseason finale on Thursday is being released less than 48 hours later. But unlike younger players, Thomas isn't subject to waivers. That means that if he wants to wait for Bill Belichick's call to return to the Patriots locker room, he can do that.

The Patriots are in roster-shuffling mode right now, and one way for them to optimize the talent they're able to keep in-house is by placing injured players on the initial 53-man roster before moving them to injured reserve. Those players can then return off of IR at midseason to provide a lift. Perhaps, then, if the Patriots clear a roster spot for Thomas soon, he'll make his way back.

It certainly looked like Thomas was capable of helping the Patriots when he was targeted eight times against the Giants in the fourth preseason game and caught seven of them for 87 yards and two scores. About eight months removed from an Achilles tear, Thomas broke off routes relatively sharply and looked strong coming off the line of scrimmage.

"I was excited," he said after the game, "especially first game coming back from tearing my Achilles, getting out to make a couple plays. You know, I was excited about it and I look to build on it and keep getting better."

As of now, it looks like the Patriots receiver depth chart will include Julian Edelman, Josh Gordon, N'Keal Harry, Phillip Dorsett and Jakobi Meyers. The team will also keep Gunner Olszewski on the active roster, and he has worked out with Patriots receivers all summer. Olszewski's value as a return man, though, is probably what earned him a spot.

For now, Thomas isn't factoring into the Patriots 53-man equation. But that could only be temporary.

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Patriots sign former Vikings defensive lineman to practice squad

Patriots sign former Vikings defensive lineman to practice squad

The New England Patriots are getting busy with practice squad transactions this week.

The Patriots announced Thursday they have signed defensive lineman Tashawn Bower to their practice squad.

Bower signed with the Vikings in 2017 as an undrafted free agent out of LSU and spent the last three seasons in Minnesota.

He recorded one sack over a total of seven games for the Vikings over the 2017 and 2018 seasons but was placed on Minnesota's non-football injury list in July 2019 with a torn Achilles.

The Vikings waived Bower on October 15, and the 24-year-old was a free agent until Thursday.

The Celtics now have nine players on their practice squad after adding wide receiver Quincy Adeboyejo to the group Wednesday.

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Cowboys' Jason Witten gives candid take on importance of Patriots matchup

Cowboys' Jason Witten gives candid take on importance of Patriots matchup

The Dallas Cowboys have underperformed against good teams this season, and their toughest challenge yet will come Sunday against the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium.

Just how good are the Cowboys? It's tough to paint a definitive picture through 10 games.

The Cowboys are 6-4 and tied with the rival Philadelphia Eagles atop the NFC East standings. Dallas has played only four teams with winning records, including matchups versus the Green Bay Packers, New Orleans Saints, Minnesota Vikings and Eagles. Dallas' only win came against the Eagles.

The Patriots are 9-1 and occupy the No. 1 seed in the AFC playoff race entering Week 12. Patriots quarterback Tom Brady has never lost to the Cowboys in four career matchups, and New England's defense is arguably the best unit in the league.

Cowboys tight end Jason Witten did not mince words when asked earlier this week about the importance of Sunday's game.

“There are defining games that happen. You look at last year’s season ... and you beat a good New Orleans team. This is one of those games," Cowboys tight end Jason Witten said, via Michael Gehlken of the Dallas Morning News. "There’s still a lot of games out there, so I don’t think it’s make or break. But at the same time, to be able to go on the road and play against Tom Brady and Bill Belichick and their team — they’re 9-1 like they are. A great opportunity for us."

A victory over the Patriots could be just what the Cowboys need to go on a late season run entering the playoffs. Dallas has played better of late, winning three of its last four games following a 3-3 start. The Cowboys' margin for error is pretty slim, though. The only way for Dallas to reach the playoffs likely will be through the NFC East title. A wild card berth doesn't look realistic at this point. The Cowboys have a tough schedule coming up, too, with matchups against the Patriots, Chicago Bears, Los Angeles Rams and Eagles still remaining. 

Sunday's matchup isn't a must-win for the Cowboys from a mathematical standpoint, but it's by far the biggest game they've played all season and will give us a better view of their true potential.

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