The New England Patriots announced the signing of RB Thomas Clayton Thursday. The Patriots signed Clayton to the 53-man active roster from the Cleveland Browns practice squad. In a related move the team released OL Quinn Ojinnaka.
Clayton spent time with the Patriots during the 2010 training camp, but was waived during final roster cuts Sept. 4. The 5-foot-11, 222-pound back was signed to the Browns practice squad on Sept. 14. Originally drafted by the San Francisco 49ers in the sixth round of the 2007 Draft, the Kansas State product spent the 2007 season on the 49ers practice squad. Clayton was signed to the 49ers active roster for the final two weeks of the 2008 season. In 2009 he was placed on San Francisco’s injured reserve list prior to the start of the regular season.
Adding Clayton to the roster is an indication that RB Fred Taylor’s toe injury may be more serious than at first glance. Taylor had to leave Sunday’s game against the Bills due to the toe bothering him. BenJarvus Green-Ellis finished the game for him.
The decision to use Ojinnaka’s roster spot to make room for Clayton is more telling. Ojinnaka was acquired by the Patriots when the team traded a future Draft pick to the Atlanta Falcons on Aug. 23, 2010. The Patriots made the deal after a week of practice with the Falcons and their preseason matchup. The 6-foot-5, 295-pound Syracuse product was originally acquired by the Falcons when they used a fifth-round draft pick to select him in the 2006 NFL Draft.
The Patriots decision to sign Rich Ohrnberger to the active roster a day earlier, is a sign that the Patriots feel second year veteran is more ready to contribute than Ojinnaka.
The Patriots play the Dolphins on Monday night. If Taylor can’t go, Clayton may get his first opportunity to show what he’s got in Prime Time in South Florida. Ohrnberger may have to be ready to go as well, depending on the health of the rest of the offensive line.
For more NFL and Patriots news follow Jon’s updates via Twitter: @jscottNFL or
For more Patriots news follow us via Twitter: @PatriotsInsider