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Bobby Carpenter returning to New England

New Orleans Saints v New England Patriots

FOXBORO, MA - AUGUST 9: Bobby Carpenter #59 of the New England Patriots looks on during a preseason game against the Orleans Saints in the first half at Gillette Stadium on August 9, 2012 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

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Bobby Carpenter, a free agent linebacker who was released by the Patriots just before the start of the regular season, is heading back to New England.

Tom Curran of reports that the Patriots will re-sign Carpenter.

The Patriots’ decision to sign Carpenter suggests that rookie linebacker Dont’a Hightower, who suffered a hamstring injury on Sunday against the Bills, may miss some time.

A first-round pick of the Bill Parcells Cowboys in 2006, Carpenter played four seasons in Dallas, played briefly in Miami in 2010 and then played for the Lions in 2010 and 2011.