Patriots Easley Among Eight Players Who Will Start On PUP

Ian Logue
July 28, 2015 at 05:00am ET

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The Patriots appear to be exercising a little caution heading into training camp, and it appears that Dominique Easley will be a player who won't be a full participant when the team gets back to work this week.

According to ESPN's Mike Reiss, after missing all of the team's offseason workouts, Easley will start the year on the PUP list for New England.

The Boston Herald reports that there were eight players total who were placed on PUP, with Brandon LaFell, Ryan Wendell, Matthew Slater, Dane Fletcher, Vince Taylor, Chris Jones, and Chris White among players who will Easley to start camp.  Quarterback Matt Flynn is reportedly on the non-football injury list, meaning that whatever ailment he's dealing with isn't related to anything pertaining to the club.

Most critics believed Easley was a risky selection when the Patriots took him last year, but the return could be huge for a team that could use another big presence inside.  The former Florida Gator had previously torn both ACLs before New England took him with the 29th overall pick and it ended up being a knee injury that ended his rookie season.  However, the fact they took a chance on him wasn't a complete surprise given Easley's potential and the team obviously felt strongly enough to exercise the risk.

After opting to part ways with veteran Vince Wilfork this offseason, it's obvious the Patriots are trying to start getting younger at the position, especially after following up his pick by selecting Malcom Brown in the first round with the 32nd overall pick this year.

For now it will be a little longer before we get to see him in action.  But under that designation, players who are on the active/PUP list can come off of it at any time.

The surprising news is Dont'a Hightower isn't among this group, which after undergoing offseason shoulder surgery is encouraging heading into camp.  Hightower had said last month that things were going well and he was ahead of schedule.

“Honestly, I don’t have a target date,” said Hightower at the time. “I’ve seen doc, and everything is going great right now. I’m right on track, if not a little ahead of schedule. It’s something that’s going to take time. I can’t say ‘three weeks’ or whatever. It feels great. I’m doing good. Doc loved everything. He said I’m ahead of schedule, so I’ll just keep doing what I’m doing.”

Looks like it worked out, because at this point it seems he'll be out there later this week.