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BOSTON (CBS) – In another blow to the improved Patriots’ defense, New England placed linebacker Jerod Mayo on the IR on Wednesday.
Mayo reportedly underwent surgery on a torn pectoral muscle on Tuesday and will now miss the rest of the 2013 season. He suffered the injury in the fourth quarter of Sunday’s comeback win over the New Orleans Saints.
The sixth-year linebacker has been a key player on New England’s defense, and had recently taken his game to a new level. He played great over the last two weeks without Vince Wilfork on the defensive line, and played extended time in coverage against New Orleans’ versatile running back Darren Sproles on Sunday.
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Mayo was named a team again captain prior to this season, and was again given the responsibility of relaying the play from the sideline to the defensive huddle. He was leading the team with 55 tackles, as he has since coming into the league, and his presence on the field will certainly be missed.
The Patriots will now rely on linebackers Brandon Spikes and Dont’a Hightower to raise their game, as well as rookie Jamie Collins and fourth-year linebacker Dan Fletcher. Collins could see time now when the Patriots line up in their 4-3 defense.
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Mayo had 35 solo tackles, 1.5 sacks and a fumble recovery this season before getting injured.
The Patriots also announced the re-signing of defensive tackle Andre Neblett to the 53-man roster, and the signing of cornerback Travis Howard to the practice squad on Wednesday.
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