Friday, January 7, 2011
Pats place Mike Wright on IR
By Mike Reiss
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- The New England Patriots gained a defensive lineman and lost another on Friday.
Mike Wright, who led the team with 5.5 sacks this season despite missing the final six games, was placed on season-ending injured reserve. Wright sustained a concussion Nov. 21 against the Colts and hasn't played since.
The Patriots have lifted the suspension of rookie defensive lineman Brandon Deaderick, however, according to a league source.
Deaderick had been suspended by the team Monday for reasons that were not revealed. When asked about the suspension Wednesday, coach Bill Belichick said, "Whatever is between the player and the team will stay between the player and the team."
One of the Patriots' biggest concerns entering the playoffs is the strength of their defensive line. Just this week, they have placed two players on injured reserve (Wright and Ron Brace), while suspending Deaderick.
The Patriots still have Pro Bowler Vince Wilfork and 10-year veteran Gerard Warren -- who were opening-day starters in their 3-4 alignment -- but the depth has been thinned considerably.
Wright, a six-year veteran, was rushing Colts quarterback Peyton Manning in the fourth quarter of the Nov. 21 game in what turned out to be his final play of the season. Wright crashed to the ground face-first and lay there as the play -- a 3-yard pass to running back Javarris James -- unfolded. When he got to his feet, he initially started walking toward the Colts sideline before changing direction.
It was unclear what led to Wright's injury as he rushed against left guard Kyle DeVan, whose hand might have come up under Wright's helmet.
Deaderick, a seventh-round draft choice out of Alabama, dressed for 10 games this season (four starts). Coaches credited him with 17 tackles and he had two sacks.
His playing time had tailed off considerably since Nov. 25 at Detroit, when he was inactive after a stretch of seven games in which he dressed.
Mike Reiss covers the Patriots for ESPN Boston. You can follow him on Twitter.