New England Patriots defensive tackle Sealver Siliga made a return to the practice field on Monday. He participated in drills without the cast he had been sporting since suffering a wrist injury earlier in the month. Along with the release of Tommy Kelly, James Anderson and Will Smith, the team also announced they had cut undrafted rookie tight end Justin Jones.
Siliga injured his left wrist during a joint practice with the Washington Redskins back on August 5. He has missed all three preseason games. It’s unclear as to whether he’ll play in the Patriots final dress rehearsal on Thursday against the New York Giants.
The 6-foot-2, 325-pound Siliga figures to be an important piece along the team’s interior defensive line this season. Many figured Kelly would assume a starting role alongside nose tackle Vince Wilfork. With Kelly now gone, the door is open for Siliga to compete for the starting three-technique tackle spot. Chris Jones, Joe Vellano and Dominique Easley are also viable options up front.
The 24-year-old notched 24 tackles and three sacks in five games last season.
Shifting gears a bit, the tight end shuffle continued on in Foxboro as well. The Patriots cut Jones for the second time this summer. He was waived and then re-signed last week.
The undrafted rookie out of East Carolina State was considered by many to be a valuable piece for the Patriots at the tight end spot. Jones, standing at 6-foot-8, figured to be a legitimate red zone threat, especially with their documented lack of depth at the position. Fellow tight ends Ben Hartsock and D.J. Williams were previously released by the club.
Rob Gronkowski, Michael Hoomanawanui and Steve Maneri are the only remaining tight ends of the roster. Fullback James Develin has shown the ability to lineup at the position and could see some repetitions there this season.