Patriots rookie linebacker Brandon Spikes was eligible to be added to the active roster from the suspended list Monday, and in a corresponding move, New England placed defensive lineman Ron Brace on season-ending injured reserve.
Brace suffered an elbow injury last week and did not participate in practice or play in the Patriots' regular-season finale against the Dolphins.
Brace, a second-round pick out of Boston College in 2009, had a disappointing rookie season and suffered through injuries in this season's training camp. However, he rebounded to spark his career and add depth to the Pats' defensive line. He played in 13 games with five starts and had 28 tackles, and he made a huge push through the Vikings' line to help stop running back Adrian Peterson on a goal-line stand in Week 8.
Spikes, who was suspended four games for violating the league's substance policy, has been an early-down linebacker who has excelled in run defense.
The Patriots allowed 89.8 rushing yards per game in Spikes' absence, which was actually an improvement from the 114.1 rushing yards they allowed in their first 12 games, but the Pats built big leads in three of four games without Spikes, forcing opposing offenses to rely more heavily on the pass. Even still, New England's run defense struggled mightily without Spikes against the Packers, as well as other occasions against the Bills.
Spikes, a second-round pick from Florida, has 71 tackles, one interception and three passes defensed.