PITTSBURGH - Batten down the cornerbacks. The Patriots are just heaving them overboard this week.
On Friday, came the surprise release of Leigh Bodden. Saturday afternoon, it's rookie Ras-I Dowling being placed on season-ending injured reserve with what the Boston Herald reports is a torn tendon in his leg.
The loss of Dowling, a second-round pick whose time at Virginia was marred by myriad injuries, leaves the Patriots with just four active cornerbacks heading into Sunday's game against the Steelers - Devin McCourty, Kyle Arrington, Antwaun Molden and Phillip Adams.
Molden and Adams are players the Patriots signed after they were released by the Texans and Niners, respectively.
The Dowling move puts the release of Bodden in a different light. Even though Dowling has been injured, it figured he'd be good to go in the near future. Why else would they release Bodden with so little depth? But the fact Dowling's season ended a day later makes the Bodden release a standalone move.
Whatever was said in the Friday morning meeting Bodden had with Bill Belichick, it's clear the two sides believed they were better off without each other and - given Dowling's situation - the Patriots had apparently had it with Bodden.
Bodden was never a visible disruption in the locker room and, quite often, you can sense a player who's discontented by his actions.
The Patriots have two practice-squad corners they could elevate to the roster next week. Meanwhile, Asante Samuel has been voicing his discontent in Philadelphia with his role on the Eagles. A trade for their former Pro Bowler seems a stretch from a "locker room fit" perspective. Samuel, while a very good performer, isn't what you'd call a team-first guy and he left a sour taste in Foxboro.
As for the activations, it will be interesting to see what extent the Patriots rely on Kevin Faulk as the 35-year-old returns from last season's knee injury. Brandon Deaderick will help provide some depth on the defensive line, which is needed since Myron Pryor and Mike Wright have both been IR'd.