The move to put Tank Williams on IR ends his season in New England. Signed as an unrestricted free agent on March 6, 2008, Williams spent a good portion of his time on defense playing alongside Tedy Bruschi at the inside linebacker position. A safety by nature, Williams possessed the rare combination of size and speed to play both safety and linebacker.
I just came in with the mindset that wherever they were going to put me I was going to learn the defense for that position and go out there and try to play it well, Williams told reporters at the start of training camp. "As long as I have an opportunity to go make plays whether it's at safety or linebacker, I'm fine."
With Williams on the sidelines, the team created an open roster spot. They quickly filled it by announcing the signing of defensive back Jeff Shoate. Originally selected by the Denver Broncos in the 2004 NFL Draft, Shoate played fro the Broncos until his release during the season (Dec.). He joined the Ravens for a brief time before eventually landing on the New York Giants roster.
Shoate gives the Patriots defense another cornerback body which could alleviate some of the burden on Fernando Bryant, Terrence Wheatley and Lewis Sanders -- the teams top three corners who played on Thursday. The Patriots are a bit shorthanded at corner with Ellis Hobbs, Jason Webster, Mike Richardson and Jonathan Wilhite all missing the preseason opener.
An All-MWC player at San Diego State, Shoate was considered a talented cover man in college. He has appeared in 14 games over the course of his career (All in Denver).