Patriots place Tommy Kelly on IR

Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports

New England's front seven takes another blow as the newly-acquired Kelly's knee injury won't allow him to play this season.

New England Patriots defensive tackle Tommy Kelly was placed on injured reserve Saturday, according to Albert Breer of Kelly had been declared out for Sunday's game against the Pittsburgh Steelers with a knee injury, but managed to practice Wednesday and Thursday.

The loss of Kelly is a huge blow for the Patriots defense, who are trying to overcome season-ending injuries to Vince Wilfork and Jerod Mayo. Offensive tackle Sebastian Vollmer is also out for the year, giving New England problems on both sides of the ball.

Kelly spent eight seasons clogging the middle for the Oakland Raiders before being released this past March. The Patriots signed Kelly in April to play alongside Wilfork, creating a tough interior for a defense with a lot to prove. WIth both big men on IR, the Patriots' trade for Isaac Sopoaga becomes that much more important. The Pats swapped fifth- and sixth-round picks with the Eagles for the rights to Sopoaga.

The candidates to start in place of Kelly are Chris Jones, Joe Vellano and Marcus Forston.

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