FOXBORO, Mass. — The Patriots released defensive back Malcolm Williams after Thursday's practice, but they didn't announce a concurrent roster transaction.
Williams, a seventh-round pick in April, was a special teamer at TCU and with the Patriots. He's been on New England's practice squad twice this season and was promoted to the active roster in time to make his NFL debut during Sunday's game against the Redskins. It's possible that Williams could return if he clears waivers.
Patriots head coach Bill Belichick was asked Monday if Williams had grown in his defensive role.
"He's learning it," Belichick said. "He missed a lot of time in training camp [with an injury] and then came back around the bye [week], somewhere in there. He really hasn't had a lot of opportunities, but he's worked primarily in the kicking game. I thought he did a good job there for us [against the Redskins]. It was good to have him back there. I think he gave us a few plays. Defensively, it's a process. I'd say he's further ahead in the kicking game than he is defensively."
With that, it seems likely the Patriots would use the roster spot on someone who can fill more of a role on defense, particularly since safety Patrick Chung has missed their last two practices.