Patriots gridiron news: Shea McClellin may not be walking through that door

SANTA CLARA, CA - NOVEMBER 20: Carlos Hyde /

New England Patriots linebacker Shea McClellin will apparently not play a down for the team in the 2017 NFL season.

With the defense taking a huge hit with the loss of Dont’a Hightower for the remainder of the season, the New England Patriots had hopes of linebacker Shea McClellin filling some of that void.

According to the Boston Herald, that hope was quickly dashed this week as McClellin suffered an apparent set back during practice.  The veteran linebacker was eligible to be activated off injured reserve for the upcoming game against the Denver Broncos.  Due to another concussion, that possibility may have gone down the drain.

During his conference call on Monday, Patriots head coach Bill Belichick didn’t rule out McClellin returning to the team soon, which serves as evidence that his setback occurred the last couple of days.

"“She’s a smart football player,” Belichick said on Monday.  “He has a lot of position flexibility both athletically and mentally with his experience.  We’ll see how it all plays out, see how it all works.  He works hard and can do a lot of different things on defense and in the kicking game, so we’ll see how it all goes.”"

Sounds like Belichick was depending on McClellin to fill a few roles on defense, especially with team not making any moves at the trade deadline.  With Shea McClellin now doubtful to return, linebackers like Kyle Van Noy, David Harris, Elandon Roberts Trevor Reilly will really have to step up.

There is still the possibility of the team luring former linebacker Rob Ninkovich out of retirement.

Chris Hogan amongst the missing

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New England Patriots wide receiver Chris Hogan was one of five players missing at practice Tuesday.

Hogan suffered an AC joint sprain in the second half of the team’s Week 8 victory over the Los Angeles Chargers.  The Patriots received good news when an MRI revealed he would not need surgery, but he will likely miss a couple of weeks.  In his absence, the Patriots will be light at the wide receiving position.

Other players missing were offensive lineman Nate Solder and Marcus Cannon, defensive tackle Malcom Brown and linebacker She McClellin who may be ruled out for the remainder of the season.

Week 10 power rankings

Following their Week 9 bye, the New England Patriots didn’t lose any ground in the ESPN NFL power rankings.  They are looking up at the Philadelphia Eagles who blow out their next opponent, the Denver Broncos.

Next: New England Patriots sign defensive lineman Ricky Jean Francois

Rounding out the top 5 are the Pittsburgh Steelers, Minnesota Vikings and the Kansas City Chiefs.