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Tuesday, December 11, 2012
Updated: December 12, 1:18 PM ET
Donte' Stallworth placed on IR

By Mike Reiss
ESPNBoston.com

The New England Patriots placed veteran wide receiver Donte' Stallworth on season-ending injured reserve on Tuesday, one day after he caught a 63-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Tom Brady in the team's 42-14 win over the Houston Texans.

In addition, the team announced the release of veteran tight end Visanthe Shiancoe.

Stallworth injured his ankle on Monday night. He played 20 snaps against the Texans, and his final play was the long touchdown catch in the third quarter.

He wasn't available for the final 25 minutes of the game, putting the Patriots in a dangerously thin position at receiver.

As for Shiancoe, the signing never produced the desired results. The Patriots inked him to a one-year, $1.2 million contract in the offseason, and Shiancoe spent the first part of the season on injured reserve, with a designation to return.

The 32-year-old Shiancoe played in four games with the Patriots this season (59 total snaps) and didn't have a reception.

Given his lack of production, the release isn't a surprise.

Stallworth's move to IR, could open the door for wide receiver Deion Branch to return.

Branch's Gillette Stadium locker has remained intact and filled with belongings since he was waived Nov. 17.

Both the Boston Globe and Boston Herald have reported Branch's return.

The Patriots also announced the release of practice squad offensive lineman Tommie Draheim.