The Patriots made a few roster moves on Thursday, the biggest of which was placing linebacker Jeff Tarpinian on injured reserve due to a head injury, effectively ending his season.
The Patriots signed wide receiver Tiquan Underwood to the 53-man roster. Underwood has had a couple stints on the Patriots this season, but has not played in a regular season game.
Tarpinian was signed to the Patriots practice squad as an undrafted free agent on Sept. 14, 2011 and was eventually activated to the Patriots' 53-man roster a week after.
Serving primarily as a special teamer, Tarpinian made one start at linebacker for the Pats in a Week 8 game against the Jets, a 37-16 Patriots win. He made four tackles in that game.
Tarpinian finished the season with seven defensive tackles and four defensive tackles. He was considered one of the better special teamers, and a player that Bill Belichick saw significant improvement in over the weeks.
"Jeff did a good job for us," Belichick said. "We really felt like he was coming along. Unfortunately, last week he had this thing come up, so we'll just have to see how it all works out. In the meantime, hes not going to be able to participate for awhile. He was a young player doing well, playing on defense a little bit. I think he was starting to develop a role there and he certainly was improving in the kicking game.
"He was giving us a solid player in all four phases the big four: kickoff, kickoff return, punt and punt return. He was giving us solid play in all four phases of special teams that he was involved in, so Im disappointed for him and disappointed for us, but we have to move on."
Belichick would not elaborate on the "head injury" when asked if it was concussion related. He did, however, talk about a linebacker who should see more time now that Tarpinian is on the IR.
"Fortunately, we were able to bring Niko Koutouvides in and he really has helped us both on defense and in the kicking game, in practice and in the games," Belichick said. "Hes a solid, veteran guy that was here for us, fortunately, in preseason, so the recall and the assignments and all of that come back pretty quickly to him."
The Patriots also signed Ross Ventrone (yes, again) to the practice squad, releasing Josh Victorian (yes, again) to open up the spot.