What could Tate and LeVoir provide Sunday?
|10.24.09 at 8:41 pm ET|
With the news that the Patriots have activated wide receiver/kick returner Brandon Tate and offensive tackle Mark LeVoir in advance of its game Sunday, it’s likely that both could play a role against Tampa Bay.
Tate is a rookie out of the University of North Carolina who tore his ACL and MCL last season as a senior. He was thought to have first-round ability, but as a result of the injury, slipped all the way to the third round before the Patriots took him with the 83rd overall selection. He started his professional career on the non-football injury list, but started practicing on Tuesday, the first day he was eligible to began practicing after sitting out the first six weeks of the season.
If he were active for Sunday’s game, he would figure into the mix as a possible No. 3 receiver. The Patriots are suddenly thin at receiver, as they released veteran wide receiver Joey Galloway earlier this week, and Julian Edelman, who had also seen time as the third receiver, reportedly suffered a broken arm in the late stages of last Sunday’s win over the Titans and did not make the trip with the team to England. While he was predominantly a kick returner for Tarheels, he did finish his collegiate career with 46 receptions for 927 yards and eight touchdowns.
On Sunday, Tate is more likely to have an impact on special teams as a returner. The 6-foot-1, 195-pounder is the NCAA career leader in combined kick-return yards with 3,523, and with Edelman sidelined, could be called on to provide special teams depth. (Laurence Maroney and Kevin Faulk have also worked as kick returners this season.)
Earlier this week, Tate sounded optimistic that he would be good to go if called upon Sunday.
“If they give me the call, yeah, I’ll be ready,” the 22-year-old said with a smile.
LeVoir, who is in his second season with New England, was placed on the physically unable to perform list with a shoulder injury at the start of the season. Like Tate, he was eligible to come off PUP this week, and began practicing with the team as soon as he became eligible. With starting left tackle Matt Light sidelined because of a knee injury he suffered in the second half of an Oct. 11 loss to the Broncos in Denver, LeVoir could provide some depth if he is activated, backing up Nick Kaczur and Sebastian Vollmer.
The 27-year-old is a 6-foot-7, 306-pounder who played collegiately at Notre Dame, but was signed by Chicago as an undrafted free agent in 2006 and spent the season on the Bears practice squad. He spent a portion of the 2007 season with St. Louis before the Patriots claimed him off waivers on Sept. 1, 2008. He was active for all 16 games in 2008, and started two games in place of Kaczur, who was injured at the time.
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