FOXBOROUGH – The Patriots have placed defensive captain Jerod Mayo on injured reserve after he tore his pectoral muscle Sunday against the New Orleans Saints.
Mayo, 27, was leading the Patriots in tackles with 55. He had played close to 100 percent of the team's defensive snaps before leaving Sunday's game in the fourth quarter.
The linebacker is in his sixth season out of Tennessee, recording more than 100 tackles the past five seasons while leading the team.
Patriots coach Bill Belichick said placing Mayo in IR was a medical decision.
"I think I've been on the record many times talking about Jerod," Belichick said. "He does a lot for us on the field, off the field. But we're just going to have to move on."
The team also re-signed defensive tackle Andre Neblett to the 53-man roster and signed cornerback Travis Howard to the practice squad.
Rookie linebacker Jamie Collins, drafted out of Southern Miss, will likely take some of the snaps on defense to fill the hole left by Mayo. But there's also Dane Fletcher to consider.
"That's why we have 'em," Belichick said. "That's why we have a full team. Whoever, if we happen to lose somebody, then somebody else has to step in and play."