FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Rookie running back Jeff Demps will not play for the Patriots this season after being placed on injured reserve on Friday.
Bill Belichick clarified Demps' standing on the roster, noting that he is not eligible for the new short-term injured reserve category that will allow one player per team to return during the season. The Patriots would have had to keep Demps on the 53-man roster through Tuesday for him to be eligible for that category.
Because the NFL recently instituted the new short-term IR category, and allowed teams to use it on one player who might have already been placed on injured reserve (e.g. LB Dane Fletcher earlier this preseason), some questioned if Demps might have fallen into a similar category.
"You would have to carry that player on the 53-man roster. You couldn't put him on injured reserve, not counted him [against the 53-man limit], then designated him to come back," Belichick explained. "In Jeff's case, he was never really on the 53-man roster. He placed on IR as part of the cutdown."
Demps, who came up limping in the fourth quarter of the team's preseason finale, is signed through the 2014 season, so he now factors into the team's longer-range planning.