The Patriots are placing a key skill player on injured reserve.
The Patriots have placed running back Rex Burkhead and rookie linebacker Ju'Whaun Bentley on injured reserve, the team announced Wednesday. Jim McBride of the Boston Herald was the first to report the news.
In a pair of corresponding moves, New England reportedly signed former Colts outside linebacker John Simon and re-signed running back/returner Kenjon Barner.
Burkhead left Sunday night's contest against the Lions after suffering a neck injury during the third quarter. He did not return to the contest. Burkhead appeared in three games (two starts), tallying 24 carries for 86 yards and three catches for 36 yards. He was also a key special teams member.
With Burkhead gone, rookie tailback Sony Michel is likely to receive a bulk of the playing time in the backfield, along with James White. Barner, who was released last week to accommodate the addition of defensive back Cyrus Jones, will provide the unit depth.
The nature of Bentley's ailment is not known. New England selected him in the fifth round of the 2018 draft out of Purdue. He became the sixth different Patriot rookie to be placed on IR this season, joining offensive linemen Isaiah Wynn and Ulrick John, receiver Braxton Berrios, linebacker Christian Sam, and tight end Ryan Izzo. Bentley is tied for fifth on the team in tackles this season (13).
Simon, a sixth-year pro, last played for the Colts in 2017. He started nine games and logged 27 tackles and three sacks. He was cut by Indianapolis in September.
The Patriots (1-2) next play the Dolphins on Sunday, Sept. 30.