New England Patriots have been dealt a blow after it was revealed that rookie defensive end Dominique Easley has been ruled out for the rest of the season with a knee injury, reports say.
It's a cruel blow for Easley because of his horrific history with knee injuries. The talented player suffered ACL tears in both of his knees in Florida during his college career, and it has only taken just over a dozen games for the Pats' youngster to suffer a similar fate in his rookie NFL season.
The injury is hardly a surprise for most who know the player, with his injury prone status coming into the 2014 NFL Draft providing the main reason why Easley dropped so far in the first round of the draft.
Promising season derailed
But despite the issues of recovering from a torn ACL from last year, Easley did show signs of promise playing for the Pats this year. The AFC East team have significantly improved their defense against the run this season, and although most of that has been down to the strong play of veteran defensive tackle Vincent Wilfolk, Easley's role in the Pats' resurgence can't be understated.
The versatile D-lineman has played 270 snaps this year for the Patriots according to Pro Football Focus, and although his main role has been to play as part of the Pats' rotation, the first year player was certainly making strides.
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What will the Patriots do next?
This is one of the main reasons that the setback for Easley could be potentially fatal for his NFL career. There is no room for sentiment in the NFL, and it will be interesting to see what the Patriots choose to do with Easley's contract heading into next season.
Hopefully they remain faithful with the talented player, but the Pats could decide that Easley is no more than damaged goods at this stage. No matter how much talent you have, to be successful in the NFL you have to stay healthy.