BOSTON (CBS) — After locking down their 53-man roster over the weekend, the Patriots continue to tinker with their practice squad ahead of Thursday’s season opener.
The Pats reportedly pulled off a pair of moves for their practice squad on Monday, releasing defensive tackle Darius Kilgo while adding receiver DeMarcus Ayers.
Ayers, a seventh-round pick by the Steelers in 2016, was released over the weekend and reportedly turned down a spot on the Pittsburgh practice squad. He played in two games last season, hauling in six receptions for 53 yards and a touchdown for the Steelers.
The 5-foot-11 Ayers will give the Patriots a little added depth at the receiver position as well as in the return game. He played three seasons at Houston before entering the NFL, finishing his collegiate career with 141 receptions for 1,686 yards and nine touchdowns. He also served as the Cougars’ primary kick returner for his first two years, returning 71 kickoffs with a 22.7 yards per return average and one touchdown, before shifting to punt return duties his junior year. He returned 28 punts for Houston in 2015, averaging 10.5 yards per return and scoring a touchdown.
New England’s practice squad sits at nine players after Monday’s moves.
The Patriots kick off the 2017 NFL season on Thursday night when they host the Kansas City Chiefs at Gillette Stadium.
Tune in to Thursday’s season opener on 98.5 The Sports Hub — the flagship station of the New England Patriots. Coverage begins at 5:30pm with Patriots Preview with kickoff set for 8:30pm. Tune in to three hours of postgame coverage following the game, and catch Patriots 5th Quarter on myTV38 to see Tom Brady and Bill Belichick’s press conferences live!