With the first practice of 2021 training camp scheduled for Wednesday, July 28, the New England Patriots have placed eight players on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list.
Defensive tackle Byron Cowart, cornerback Stephon Gilmore, linebacker Terez Hall, tight end Dalton Keene, linebacker Brandon King, wide receiver Devin Smith, quarterback Jarrett Stidham and edge rusher Chase Winovich will begin camp on PUP. While they are not yet eligible to practice, they are able to be removed from the list at any time.
Gilmore is unquestionably the most high-profile of Thursday’s designees. In Week 15 of the 2020 season, the 2019 Defensive Player of the Year suffered a partially torn quad, subsequently ending his season He successfully underwent surgery to repair the injury in the offseason. Gilmore was not present for either the team’s voluntary offseason program, or mandatory minicamp. It has been widely reported that his absence this spring was due to his desire to obtain a contract extension, or at least a bump in salary. The 30-year-old is set to make just over $7 million in salary, ranking him as the 26th highest-paid cornerback in football. While it was speculated that Gilmore might extend his holdout into training camp, he was among the group of veterans that reported to Gillette Stadium on Thursday.
While information is still forthcoming on the injuries that landed each player on PUP, some may be lingering ailments from the previous season.
Tight end Dalton Keene started the 2020 season on the sidelines due to a neck injury. After being activated, he remained a healthy scratch for three additional games before his debut against the San Francisco 49ers in Week 7.
Linebacker and special teams ace Brandon King is no stranger to injury lists. King missed the entire 2019 campaign after tearing his quad during the Patriots’ third preseason game. He was later placed on season-ending injured reserve. Unfortunately, his fate in 2020 was more of the same. New England placed him on the Active/PUP list ahead of training camp. Shortly thereafter, he was moved to Reserve/PUP, requiring him to sit out at least the first six weeks of the regular season. King would go on to miss the rest of the 2020 season, his second consecutive year on the sidelines.
On Wednesday, the team announced that they had placed rookies Rhamondre Stevenson, Cameron McGrone, and Joshuah Bledsoe on the NFL’s non-football injury (NFI) list, which is essentially the rookie equivalent of the PUP list.