Patriots defensive tackle suspended for start of 2022 NFL season

FOXBOROUGH, MASSACHUSETTS – OCTOBER 24: Daniel Ekuale #95 of the New England Patriots rushes against Greg Van Roten #62 of the New York Jets during the game at Gillette Stadium on October 24, 2021 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

The Patriots will be short by at least one player to start the 2022 NFL season. defensive tackle Daniel Ekuale was suspended for the first two games of the year, as first reported ESPN’s Yates Field. No reason was given for the suspension.

Ekuale joined the Patriots through the practice squad at the start of last season. The 28-year-old ended up being the team’s most senior player, appearing in seven regular season games and the playoff game. During the regular season, he recorded five tackles and two sacks on 99 defensive snaps as a spinning pass rushing defensive tackle.

Considering how often he was promoted last year, Ekuale thought he was in contention for a roster spot ahead of the 2022 season. Now, he won’t make it into the initial roster of 53 players. That could open the door for a post bubble player like Byron Cowart or UDFA LaBryan Ray.

However, Ekuale can stay with the team until the start of the first week of the regular season. He’ll have a chance during training camp and in preseason games to prove he deserves a roster spot when he returns from suspension. Right now, he’s expected to miss games against the Dolphins and Steelers.

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