FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) — The Patriots have placed All-Pro punt returner Marcus Jones on injured reserve with a shoulder injury and signed Will Grier to their 53-man roster for use as their third emergency quarterback against the New York Jets, coach Bill Belichick said Friday.
Grier was signed off the Cincinnati Bengals practice squad. Belichick didn't say whether it would be a short-term or season-ending stay on IR for Jones.
“It's unfortunate. Obviously had a really good rookie year. Explosive player," Belichick said. “He's on IR for right now, so he'll be out for a while.”
Jones was injured in the Patriots' loss to Miami last week. In addition to playing cornerback, he also served as New England's punt and kick returner on special teams and appeared in some limited offensive sets.
He was named a first-team AP All-Pro punt returner as a rookie in 2022, finishing second in the NFL with a 12.5 yards per return average. It included a game-winning 84-yard punt return in New England's second meeting against the Jets last season. Jones also had an interception return for a score against Cincinnati and a 48-yard touchdown reception against Buffalo.
The Patriots signed and then released quarterback Ian Book earlier in the week and also also cut ties with Matt Corral after he was briefly placed on the exempt list. Belichick said those decisions provided a need for support behind starting quarterback Mac Jones and backup Bailey Zappe.
“Felt like we need depth at that position,” Belichick said. “Two quarterbacks. Long year.”
Grier is someone the Patriots have tracked since he was taken as a third-round pick out of West Virginia by the Carolina Panthers in the 2019 draft. He was with the Panthers for two seasons and started the final two games of the 2019 season completing 28 of 52 passes for 228 yards.
He was waived and signed first by Dallas, then cut again and signed to the Bengals' practice squad in August.
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