The Patriots announced that veteran tight end Visanthe Shiancoe has been placed on injured reserve with a designation to return.
This is the first year that teams have had the option of placing a player on IR with a designation to return. Shiancoe, who missed most of training camp with a hamstring injury, will be able to return to practice after the sixth week of the schedule and to the lineup after the eighth week, per the new rule.
The 32-year-old Shiancoe, a veteran of nine NFL seasons, signed with the Patriots on July 25 to fill out arguably the deepest tight end depth chart in the NFL -- Rob Gronkowski, Aaron Hernandez, Daniel Fells and Shiancoe.
With Shiancoe placed on IR, the Patriots filled his spot with former Rams tight end Michael Hoomanawanui.