Patriots offensive lineman Logan Mankins left Saturday's game against the Dolphins late in the first quarter with a knee injury and did not return. Bill Belichick was asked about Mankins' availability for Sunday's regular-season finale against the Buffalo Bills at Gillette Stadium, and said he didn't have any update on his status.
"I don't really know much more than I did on Saturday," said Belichick. "Yesterday was Christmas."
The Patriots were also without starting left tackle Matt Light for Saturday's game. He sat out with an ankle injury and Mankins filled in at left tackle in Light's place. But that was only the start of the musical chairs game for the Patriots' offensive line.
When Mankins left the game injured, rookie Nate Solder moved to from right tackle to left tackle and rookie Marcus Cannon subbed in as the new right tackle. Also, Dan Connolly started at center but was eventually replaced by Ryan Wendell. No announcement was made as to Connolly's health, but he has missed time this season with a groin injury.
It was reported last week that multiple NFL executives are convinced that Darrelle Revis will return to the New England Patriots next season.
Talking with the New York Daily News, Patriots owner Robert Kraft said he’d be open to a reunion with the 31-year-old cornerback.
“I would love it,” Kraft said. “Speaking for myself, if he wanted to come back, he’s a great competitor, I’d welcome him if he wanted to come.”
Asked if the team has had discussions with Revis, Kraft said “ask my boy,” in reference to coach Bill Belichick.
Revis spent the 2014 season with the Patriots, helping them win Super Bowl XLIX. He bolted back to the New York Jets the next season, signing a five-year, $70 million contract ($39 million guaranteed).
The Jets released Revis earlier this month after the incident in Pittsburgh. A judge dismissed the charges.
PHOENIX -- The idea that Malcolm Butler could be traded by the Patriots before the start of the 2017 season has been floated for weeks. But if Robert Kraft had his way, he'd like for the hero of Super Bowl XLIX to stick around.
At the Biltmore hotel on Day 2 of the league's annual meetings, Kraft was asked if he anticipated having Butler back in New England for next season.
"I sure hope so," he said. "We have [a first-round tender] out to him, and I know he has the ability to go out in the market and get someone to sign him, and then we either match it or get the first-round draft pick.
"I'm rooting, I hope, he's with us and signs his offer sheet and plays for us. I have a great affection for him. He was part of probably the greatest play in the history of our team, but there are a lot of people involved in that."
The Patriots can't trade any player who isn't under contract, and they can't talk about a trade for a player not on their roster. Therefore, even if the Patriots hoped to deal Butler and get something in return for the Pro Bowl-caliber corner before he hits unrestricted free agency in 2018, it's not something that the owner of the team would be at liberty to discuss with dozens of microphones in front of his face.
The tender offer of $3.91 million for one season is still out there for Butler. He could sign it and play in New England. He could sign it and be traded. For now, Kraft says he's hoping for the former -- and insists that the Patriots didn't have designs on the latter all along.
"I don't want to, in any way, take away from his rights [as a restricted free agent]," he said, adding, "I want to be clear. I hope he's with us."