FOXBOROUGH — Donte’ Stallworth’s return to the Patriots, at least this stint, will be for just one game. The receiver was placed on injured reserve Tuesday with an ankle injury, presumably suffered during Monday night’s 42-14 win over the Houston Texans, a game in which Stallworth caught one pass, a 63-yarder that went for a touchdown.
With Stallworth now unavailable, it opens room on the roster for receiver Deion Branch, who will return to the Patriots this week, according to a league source. Branch has nine catches in seven games this season, but was released last month after suffering a hamstring injury.
Stallworth had been signed last Monday, rejoining the organization that he spent the 2007 season with. He was also with the Patriots in training camp before being released, but with injuries to Julian Edelman and Rob Gronkowski, the team’s receiving corps had thinned, prompting the move last week to bring Stallworth back.
“Donte’ is always in good shape, works hard, dependable player that got an opportunity, stepped up and made it happen,” coach Bill Belichick said, before Tuesday’s roster announcement. “I think that’s kind of what sometimes football is about, but certainly it’s what football at this time of year is about. It’s getting opportunities and taking advantage of them.”
Said offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, also before the team announced the move: “I don’t want to understate how hard it is to come in off the street and get acclimated to not only what the game plan is, but who the opponent is, how they play. And then, go out there and have to perform on short notice. Credit to him for putting himself in position to be able to go out there and do that.”
The Patriots on Tuesday also released tight end Visanthe Shiancoe, who did not have a reception in any of the four games he played during his first season with the team. Signed as a free agent in July, Shiancoe was placed on injured reserve at the end of training camp, but with a designation to return. Each team is able to designate one player on IR for a return, and the Patriots used it on Shiancoe, who didn’t play much at all, even when healthy.
Offensive lineman Tommie Draheim, a member of the practice squad, was also released.