The New England Patriots have signed four-year veteran Austin
Collie to add experience to their young wide receiver corps.
They also placed defensive tackle Vince Wilfork on injured
reserve on Thursday and released tight end Zach Sudfeld, a rookie
free agent who struggled after an impressive preseason.
Collie spent his first four seasons with the Indianapolis Colts
before signing as a free agent with San Francisco last Aug. 2. He
had been a free agent since the 49ers released him Aug. 31.
He was a productive wide receiver out of the slot in his first
three seasons but had at least three concussions since November
2010 and left another game with concussion-like symptoms. He missed
three games early last season because of a concussion and played in
just one game before rupturing the patellar tendon in his right
Collie started 16 of his 42 games with the Colts, making 173
catches for 1,845 yards and 16 touchdowns. He had at least 54
receptions in each of his first three seasons but just one last
The Patriots have played with three rookies among their four
wide receivers in the last three games after veteran Danny Amendola
aggravated a groin injury in the opener. He hasn’t played since and
participated on a limited basis in practice on Wednesday and
The rookies seemed to make progress in last Sunday night’s 30-23
win over the Atlanta Falcons in which rookie Kenbrell Thompkins
caught two touchdown passes from Tom Brady. But Julian Edelman,
tied for the NFL lead with 34 catches, is the Patriots’ only
healthy veteran wide receiver.
Wilfork, a five-time Pro Bowl player, tore his right Achilles
tendon in the first quarter against Atlanta. He’s missed just six
games in his 10-year career.
The release of Sudfeld might indicate that Rob Gronkowski will
play for the first time this season on Sunday against the
Cincinnati Bengals. He’s been recovering from forearm and back
surgeries. Patriots tight ends have just four catches this season:
three by Michael Hoomanawanui, one by Matthew Mulligan and none by
Gronkowski was limited in practice Wednesday and Thursday but
has said his condition has been improving.