BOSTON (CBS) — Veteran defensive lineman Alan Branch has served a limited role thus far in 2017 with the Patriots. On Thursday night in Tampa, he’ll serve no role.

According to ESPN’s Mike Reiss, Branch did not travel with the team to Tampa for Thursday night’s game against the Buccaneers.

Branch, 32, joined the Patriots in 2014, and signed a new deal with the team this past offseason for two years and a maximum value of over $6 million. But he hasn’t played much, playing 62 percent of the team’s defensive snaps in the opener and then having that number drop to 9 percent in Week 2. He played 30 percent of the team’s defensive snaps in Week 3 vs. Houston, and 19 percent of the team’s defensive snaps last week against Carolina.

Earlier this week, branch expressed his frustration about his limited playing time to NBC Sports Boston’s Mike Giardi.

“I just want to be able to go out there and make a difference in the game,” Branch told Giardi. “Anybody that plays the game wants to be in the game. I’m just trying to do my best trying to get better in each practice, get right in the weight room and everything.”

With Branch being a healthy scratch, it’ll be the second straight game in which Bill Belichick has not dressed a veteran defensive player, as linebacker David Harris did not suit up for Sunday’s loss vs. the Panthers.


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