Cre’von LeBlanc’s winding NFL journey has led him back to New England.
The Patriots signed the veteran cornerback to their practice squad Tuesday, according to multiple reports, reuniting him with the team that initially signed him as an undrafted free agent in 2016.
LeBlanc impressed during his rookie training camp but failed to make the Patriots’ 53-man roster, losing out to fellow 2016 UDFA Jonathan Jones. The Chicago Bears claimed him off waivers on cutdown day, and he went on to appear in 13 games that season, starting nine and grabbing two interceptions.
After two seasons and 28 games with Chicago, LeBlanc was cut. The 27-year-old went on to play in three games for Matt Patricia’s Detroit Lions and 21 for the Philadelphia Eagles. He was in training camp with the Miami Dolphins last summer, then spent most of this season on the Houston Texans’ practice squad.
LeBlanc has not played in a game this season, but he could factor into the Patriots’ plans for Saturday night’s wild-card round playoff game against the Buffalo Bills. Starting outside cornerback Jalen Mills was placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list Tuesday, putting his status for Saturday in doubt, and the Patriots are light on depth at the position. LeBlanc mostly is a slot corner, however, not seeing extensive snaps outside since his rookie season.
The Patriots have J.C. Jackson, Myles Bryant, Joejuan Williams and Justin Bethel on their 53-man roster and De’Vante Bausby, D.J. Daniel and LeBlanc on their practice squad. Mills and Shaun Wade are on COVID reserve, though both theoretically could return in time for Saturday’s game.