FOXBORO, Mass. — The New England Patriots filled out their linebacker depth by bringing back a familiar face Wednesday.
The Patriots re-signed linebacker Jonathan Freeny, a source told NESN.com. The Patriots had an open roster spot when tight end Rob Gronkowski was suspended one game for a late hit on Buffalo Bills cornerback Tre’Davious White in Week 13.
Freeny originally signed with the Patriots in 2015. He played 18 games with the Patriots in two seasons, collecting 33 tackles, one sack, two forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries and one pass breakup. He was released Sept. 2.
Freeny, a Rutgers product, played three games with the Baltimore Ravens this season. He also has spent time with the Miami Dolphins and Jacksonville Jaguars since coming into the NFL as an undrafted free agent in 2011.
The Patriots needed additional outside linebacker depth with starter Kyle Van Noy nursing a calf injury and Trevor O’Reilly limited with a concussion. Van Noy missed practice Wednesday.
The Patriots play one of Freeny’s former teams, the Dolphins, on Monday night. He could contribute on special teams and defense. It’s possible Freeny’s stay with the Patriots could be short-lived, since New England will need to reopen a roster spot when Gronkowski returns.
UPDATE (1:50 p.m. ET): The Patriots officially announced the transaction.