The Patriots announced Friday that they have placed Dowling on injured reserve with a thigh injury, thus ending the cornerback's season prematurely.
Dowling appeared in six games this season, and started to see more playing time recently, but he left Sunday's victory over the Jets early and didn't return. This marks the second straight season that Dowling has been placed on injured reserve, as his rookie campaign was cut short after just two games because of a hip injury that later required surgery.
The severity of Dowling's injury at this point is unclear, but the team obviously felt it was serious enough to use the IR. As you may recall, New England already used its short-term injured reserve designation on tight end Visanthe Shiancoe.
Dowling, a second-round pick of the Patriots in 2011, will have to wait until next season to make an impact. Again.