Key New England Patriots starter to miss portion of 2024 season with ‘significant’ injury

New England Patriots news
Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

New England Patriots organized team activities are underway with a lot of excitement for a new era. However, some of that buzz surrounding a new quarterback and new coaching regime was lessened this week due to some troubling Patriots news.

New England seemed to be healthy coming into OTAs, highlighted by wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster revealing he is finally healthy after playing through a painful knee injury last year that never allowed him to play at 100 percent. Unfortunately for New England, a knee issue for another top starter will put a void in the Patriots lineup.

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Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reported on Tuesday that guard Cole Strange is dealing with a significant knee injury, which will sideline him for the start of the 2024 NFL season and potentially even longer.

Speaking to reporters, Patriots head coach Jerod Mayo wouldn’t provide much detail on the nature of the injury but did say it could be described as a “month-by-month” absence.

“He’s more of a, let’s say, week-by-week or you can go month-by-month if you want to. But he is working hard, he is doing his rehab. Here every day. He is in the meeting room, so I am happy where he is.”

New England Patriots head coach Jerod Mayo on the Cole Strange injury (H/T Ian Rapoport of NFL Network)

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Strange, the 29th overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, started 10 games last season after starting all 17 games in his rookie year. The former top pick had medical concerns entering the NFL, with a knee issue that caused him significant problems last season.

Before NFL news of Strange’s injury surfaced, he was atop the Patriots depth chart at left guard to open the 2024 season. With the team reportedly now expecting him to miss at least a quarter of the season, potentially even longer, rookie Layden Robinson or veteran guard Nick Leverett will likely take over in Strange’s place.

The knee injury will now force Strange to miss multiple games in consecutive seasons. Bill Belichick’s decision to select Strange with the 29th overall pick was considered a reach at the time and looks even worse now. New England drafted him over the likes of edge rusher George Karlaftis II, running back Breece Hall and wide receiver Christian Watson.

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