New England Patriots sign defensive lineman Ricky Jean Francois

LANDOVER, MD - SEPTEMBER 18: Defensive end Ricky Jean Francois
LANDOVER, MD - SEPTEMBER 18: Defensive end Ricky Jean Francois /

The New England Patriots have placed Dont’a Hightower on injured reserve, and a new lineman will likely take his roster spot this week.

Dont’a Hightower has officially been placed on injured reserve by the New England Patriots, and the team signed defensive lineman Ricky Jean Francois on Tuesday as well.

Jean Francois is a 6’3″ 295 lbs defensive lineman that has been in the NFL since 2009. He spent the first 4 seasons of his career with the San Francisco 49ers, and he was pretty solid with 33 tackles and 3 sacks in 51 games. Jean Francois’s two seasons in Indianapolis were even more successful though.

With the Colts, Jean Francois played in 26 games, making 23 starts. He tallied 34 tackles and 5.5 sacks over two seasons there. In 2015, he signed with the Washington Redskins. He was there for two years as well, appearing in all 32 regular season games for Washington. He had 26 tackles and 3.5 sacks there.

2017 has been a disappointment for Ricky Jean Francois though. The defensive lineman appeared in 6 games for the Green Bay Packers, but he recorded just 1 tackle. That came in a week 4 win over the Chicago Bears. On November 1st, he was released by Green Bay. Just 6 days later, he has a new home in New England, on a defensive line that could use his help.

New England is dealing with an injury to interior lineman Malcom Brown, and Jean Francois will likely help to fill that void. If Brown can’t play this Sunday at Denver, expect to see Jean Francois in a rotation with Alan Branch, Lawrence Guy, and Adam Butler. The roster spot for Jean Francois is freed up with the placement of Hightower on IR, as Shea McClellin is not expected to be activated off IR by the deadline on Thursday. McClellin was placed on IR this September with an undisclosed injury.

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One thing New England fans should love about Jean Francois right away is that he owns 30 Dunkin Donuts franchises. In the Boston, people are loyal to Dunkins just as much as they are to the Pats, so this is a pretty cool story. Jean Francois said he wanted to make sure he had an income stream for when his playing career was done, and he began to purchase some of the restaurants when he signed his contract with the Colts.

"“People want the jewelry, the big rings, the cars, the house and all that. I told a lot of the other guys, ‘Man, put some money to the side.’ You’ve got to make two to three other ways of income that doesn’t have anything to do with your main job. “Right now, you’re 23 with a bunch of money. But is that going to be the same money you have in your hand when you turn 30?”"

We’re sure Jean Francois will have a few Dunkin Donuts experiences here in New England as well.

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Jean Francois and the Patriots defense should feast on the Denver offense this Sunday. The Broncos have struggled to move the ball and score consistently over the last few weeks. New England’s offense should be able to put up huge numbers too, so the pressure will be on the defense to make this a blowout.