Rowe: Hamstring injury 'frustrating' after solidifying spot in secondary

Rowe: Hamstring injury 'frustrating' after solidifying spot in secondary

FOXBORO -- The timing of Eric Rowe's hamstring injury was less than ideal.

It seemed as though the Patriots had finally figured out their best combination in the secondary in recent weeks with Malcolm Butler at left corner, Rowe at right corner and Logan Ryan in the slot. Then Rowe's hamstring gave out late in the third quarter of Sunday's win over the Rams. 

"I was finally getting into a groove," Rowe said Wednesday. "It does set me back, just me not being out there practicing to keep it going. It is a little frustrating, but that’s part of the NFL. Just another thing I have to take on."

Rowe was spotted in the locker room after the win with ice wrapped around his left hamstring. Even after a chance to watch film of the game, he said he's still unsure as to how he got hurt.

"I’ve played in cold games in college," he said. "I was nice and stretched. I obviously stretch my hamstrings a lot because I do a lot of running. Just one play, a regular play, and I was just running and it came on me. I still can’t figure it out. It is frustrating."

Rowe was inactive following the team's Week 9 bye, but since then he's been close to an every-down player. He did not miss a snap against the 49ers and he played all but one play against the Jets. Against the Rams, he played 33 snaps before his injury. 

Rookie corner Cyrus Jones filled in for the fourth quarter. The Patriots also could use corner Justin Coleman -- who has been active for the last three games -- to help in the defensive backfield should Rowe miss any time. Undrafted rookie corner Jonathan Jones is also an option, though he has been used primarily as a special-teamer this season.

"I’m just trying to take it day by day and get better," he said before Wednesday's practice. "Obviously, hamstrings are nothing to play with. I’m not going to try to rush myself out there and make it worse."

Rowe was present at the start of Wednesday's workout, but he was not spotted during cornerback drills toward the end of the media availability portion of practice. The first injury report of the week will be released later in the day on Thursday.

Brandon Pettigrew could be a TE option for Patriots

Brandon Pettigrew could be a TE option for Patriots

FOXBORO - The Lions are moving on from tight end Brandon Pettigrew. Could the Patriots be interested in moving him in?

New England’s tight end landscape has gone from brilliant to bleak in about a week with Rob Gronkowski done for the year, Martellus Bennett hobbling on bad ankles and an unknown Matt Lengel the only depth at the spot.

Which could put the team squarely in the market for anyone that could lend a couple of helping hands. Pettigrew is a former first-round pick who the Lions are reportedly about to release. They put him on the their non-football injury list on Tuesday, closing his chance to return to the team. He’d been practicing since November 22 and both he and Lions offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter spoke positively about his return.

Pettigrew’s been rehabbing an ACL tear suffered last December. He turns 32 in February and was probably going to be released by the Lions in the offseason as he had a 2017 base salary of $4.35M. 

Once Pettigrew is released, he will pass through waivers as all players do after the trade deadline. If unclaimed, he can sign anywhere. His contract would travel with him so his new team would be on the hook for the remainder of his agreed-upon 2016 salary.

It wouldn’t be a horrific idea for the Patriots to put in a waiver claim on Pettigrew and see what he could bring them for the stretch run even if he had descended into disuse in Detroit.

Pettigrew caught 17 passes in the 22 games he’s played for the Lions since 2014. At 6-5, 278, he’s probably not as quick and agile as he was eight seasons ago when he was the 20th overall pick. Would it be a desperate move? Yes. But it’s a desperate situation at the position.