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NFL Rumors: Andre Carter Not Returning to Patriots

One of this week’s NFL rumors is that free agent defensive end Andre Carter will not be returning to the New England Patriots in 2012. The 33-year old was a bright spot on the Patriots defense in 2011, but is recovering from surgery to repair torn quadriceps, which he suffered late last season. Teams interested in Carter include the Oakland Raiders and St. Louis Rams.

Even with the Patriots selecting Chandler Jones in the first round of the 2012 NFL Draft, Carter’s agent had suggested earlier this offseason that both parties were interested in his return. It seemed possible due to a lack of experience at the position. However, Carter is visiting with the Raiders and Rams this week, which adds to speculation that he will not be returning to the Patriots this coming season.

Current reports on Carter’s status of recovery are that he still lacks burst and explosion. The Patriots haven’t signed him yet because they feel he isn’t very close to being ready to play.

The Patriots will most likely be starting the rookie Jones at defensive end this season along with veteran Rob Ninkovich. The backups will likely be veteran Trevor Scott and 2012 third round pick Jake Bequette. Beyond those four, it’s an open battle for likely one other spot which includes Jermaine Cunningham and Justin Francis among others.

The departure of Carter will mean the Patriots defensive line will be dealing with more inexperience on defense with two of the defensive ends being rookies. That could be worrying for a defense that was ranking 31st in 2011.