The New England Patriots officially announced the additions of running back Devine Ozigbo and cornerback Thakarius “BoPete” Keyes to their practice squad on Tuesday afternoon.
Ozigbo played his collegiate football for the University of Nebraska. He rushed for 2,196 yards on 419 carries with 21 touchdowns with the Cornhuskers. He began his NFL career as an undrafted rookie in 2019 with the New Orleans Saints. However, he was cut by New Orleans during the team’s final roster shedding at the conclusion of training camp.
The 25-year-old has spent the majority of his first two years as a pro as a member of the Jacksonville Jaguars, who claimed him after being waived by New Orleans. During that time, he filled a reserve running back role, taking most of his snaps on special teams.
With the COVID-19 pandemic forcing the shutdown of team facilities, Ozigbo was among those trying to make the best out of a tough situation amidst a challenging 2020 offseason. The running back found a means of satisfying his work ethic, while demonstrating his creativity in the process:
After being waived by the Jaguars at the conclusion of 2021 training camp, Ozigbo alternated second-tours-of-duty with both the Saints and Jaguars. Throughout his near three-season tenure in the NFL, he compiled 25 yards on 11 carries, as well as 13 receptions for 72 yards over 20 career games.
After the Patriots hosted eyes for a workout at Gillette Stadium on Monday, the 24-year-old will add depth to the Patriots defensive backfield. Keyes was a seventh-round selection (237th overall) by the Kansas City Chiefs in the 2020 NFL Draft. He played in eight games for the Chiefs in his rookie season, before being waived by the team in August 2021. The 6-foot-1, 202-pound Tulane product was claimed by the Indianapolis Colts, with whom he would play four games. Keyes was eventually released from Indy’s practice squad on November 22.
Throughout his 12 career games between Kansas City and Indianapolis, Keyes has combined nine tackles, playing 87 snaps on defense, as well as 87 snaps on special teams.
Lastly, the Patriots also announced the release of defensive tackle Niles Scott from their practice squad, after he was signed by the team last Thursday. Scott entered the league by signing as an undrafted rookie free agent with the San Francisco 49ers in 2018. Scott appeared in six games for the Bengals, playing 46 defensive snaps in a reserve role, compiling four tackles. Scott missed the 2019 season on injured reserve, and signed with the Buffalo Bills in early August 2020. His time in Buffalo would be short lived, as he was waived with an injury settlement by the end of the month. Scott has spent much of the 2021 season with the Las Vegas Raiders. Most recently, the 26-year-old had a brief three-week stint on the Tennessee Titans practice squad in November.
The Patriots will return to the practice fields on Wednesday, December 1, as they prepare to visit their AFC East-divisional rival Buffalo Bills on Monday night, December 6, from Orchard Park, New York.