Top Patriots free agency signing leaves practice early with injury
Monday’s New England Patriots training camp practice saw what could be the first major injury of camp for the team. Tight end Mike Gesicki left the practice early with the Patriots’ training staff, and did not return.
On the play where he got hurt, Gesicki was going one-on-one against Jahlani Tavai. There was nothing out of the ordinary about Tavai’s tackle, and at first watch it seemed as if anything went wrong, it would have been with Gesicki’s lower body given the way Tavai wrapped him up around his ankles.
However, Gesicki came up favoring his right arm, towards his shoulder. He slowly walked off the field with the training staff, and did not return to practice. It’s possible he hurt it while bracing himself on his fall.
There was no update on Gesicki immediately after practice. Pending any external reports, the next check on his status would come on Wednesday when the Patriots have their first of two joint practices with the Green Bay Packers. It will be interesting to see whether or not he makes the trip to Green Bay.
Gesicki, 27, is in his first year with the Patriots, having signed a one-year, $9 million contract with the team this spring. He’d come on strong over the last two weeks of practice, starting to build a strong chemistry with quarterback Mac Jones.
Over his first five NFL seasons Gesicki was a pure receiving threat tight end for the Miami Dolphins, putting up a career year with 73 catches for 780 yards in 2021 before regressing last year in the newly-implemented Mike McDaniel ‘Shanahan’ style offense. The 6-foot-6, 250-pound tight end has also been very durable in his career, missing just one game in five years.
If Gesicki is going to miss an extended period of time, there will suddenly be a major position battle for the second tight end spot on the roster behind Hunter Henry. The Patriots have four other tight ends on the roster in Anthony Firkser, Matt Sokol, Scotty Washington, and rookie Johnny Lumpkin. Sokol seemed to start camp as the favorite for the third tight end spot, although Firkser has come on strong as of late. However, going just by skillset Washington would likely be able to handle most of Gesicki’s assignments assuming the team still wanted to lean on two tight end looks with him out.
Gesicki wasn’t the only Patriots player to suffer an injury on Monday either. Late in practice, outside linebacker Anfernee Jennings came up in pain during an 11-on-11 two-minute drill. After throwing his helmet off Jennings had his arm looked at by the training staff. He walked off the field and stayed on the sideline, continuing to get worked on by the trainers until the end of practice.
This also wasn’t the first time a Patriots offensive starter has gotten hurt during camp this year. Guard Cole Strange injured his knee on the first day of padded practices, but the injury was later described as “not serious” and Strange has returned to practice in recent days.
Alex Barth is a writer and digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Thoughts? Comments? Questions? Looking for a podcast guest? Let him know on Twitter @RealAlexBarth or via email at abarth@985TheSportsHub.com.