Pats' Jacoby Brissett off IR; Tom Brady injury not serious, source says

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- On the same day that New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady returned to the injury report as a limited participant (thigh), rookie QB Jacoby Brissett was activated from injured reserve to add a third layer of depth at the position.

Brady's injury is not considered serious, according to a source.

Regardless, the Patriots had planned to activate Brissett to their 53-man roster by Wednesday's deadline. The third-round pick out of NC State had surgery on his right thumb in October and returned to practice Dec. 1.

Under NFL rules, players who are on injured reserve with a designation to return can practice for three weeks without counting on the 53-man roster. At that point, teams have to either add them to the roster or keep them on IR and lose them for the season.

The Patriots didn't want to lose Brissett, in part for the insurance he provides behind Brady and Jimmy Garoppolo, and also because practicing aids his development. Perhaps Brady's recent injury history was part of the consideration; the 39-year-old MVP candidate previously managed a knee injury that had him missing extended practice time, and now has the thigh injury.

To make room for Brissett, the Patriots waived rookie defensive tackle Woodrow Hamilton.

Brissett earned the respect of many in the Patriots organization for stepping in for the injured Garoppolo late in the second quarter of the team's Week 2 win over the Miami Dolphins. He then started and played well in a 27-0 win over the Houston Texans in Week 3, before starting again in a 16-0 loss to the Buffalo Bills in Week 4.