The New England Patriots have placed veteran tight end Martellus Bennett on injured reserve, according to a Monday afternoon report from Jim McBride of the Boston Globe. He had meant to undergo season-ending shoulder surgery when the Packers waived him, but he signed with the Patriots instead.
Bennett had been dealing with a shoulder injury for much of the season, although his recent hamstring injury that kept him out of Sunday's game against the Dolphins was also a major reason for the roster move, per Ian Rapoport of NFL Network.
He played just two games for the Patriots after being claimed on waivers from the Green Bay Packers last month.
The outspoken tight end won a Super Bowl with the Patriots a year ago, his only season in New England. There seemed to be a dispute between Bennett and the organization about the severity of his shoulder injury.
The Packers cited a "failure to disclose a physical condition" for dropping Bennett earlier this year. The next week, he recovered a Rex Burkhead fumble on the opening drive of a win over the Raiders and added two catches for 24 yards. From the moment Bennett was claimed on waivers November 9, it seemed to bring out the best in fellow tight end Dwayne Allen. He started in seven games in Green Bay before a rocky divorce with the club.
Bennett will end his season catching 30-of-44 targets for 286 yards in 2017.
The Patriots have plenty of depth at tight end. But he has played his best football in the past three games, and the Patriots will be relying on more of that coming down the homestretch.
Ebner was injured against Miami after successfully executing a 14-yeard fake punt to pick up a first down.