Patriots Add Former Playoff Nemesis: Report

Bill Belichick

Getty Bill Belichick brings in a tight end who ended the Patriots' 2019 season.

New England Patriots fans can enjoy tight end Anthony Firkser scoring a big touchdown instead of a 2020 playoff nightmare.

Firkser will join the Patriots according to ESPN’s Mike Reiss on Thursday, May 25. The former Tennessee Titans tight end once caught a key touchdown in a Wild Card Game win over the Patriots in January 2020.

Also a former Harvard player, Firkser helped end quarterback Tom Brady‘s final season with the Patriots. Firkser, who last played for the Atlanta Falcons in 2022, can now help the Patriots write a new chapter in 2023.

While Firkser won’t light up the scoreboard regularly like former Patriots great Rob Gronkowski, Firkser adds depth and value to the Patriots’ tight end room. Mike Gesicki and Hunter Henry project to be the top-two  tight ends for the team.

Firkser could play more of a blocking role, and he brings veteran leadership to the locker room. The Patriots have little experience at tight end after Gesicki and Henry.

Matt Sokol, who notably wears Gronkowski’s old No. 87, only has five games of NFL experience. Scotty Washington appeared on one trick play last season, and Johnny Lumpkin just started his NFL career as an undrafted free agent.

Firkser also adds some versatility to the Patriots offense as the team could use him at fullback — a role he played at Harvard. Also a tight end for the Crimson, he tallied   99 receptions for 1,559 yards and 14 touchdowns in 29 career games.

Anthony Firkser Worked his Way From UDFA to Playoff TE

After Firkser went undrafted in 2017, he landed with the New York Jets as a practice squad player. The Jets waived him in September 2017, but he then joined the Kansas City Chiefs‘ practice squad for the season.

Kansas City parted ways with him in April 2018, but he signed with the Titans, coached by former Patriots linebacker Mike Vrabel. While Firkser started off on the practice squad, he worked his way into a rotational role on the 53-man roster.

Firkser caught 140 passes for 1,107 yards and five touchdowns in 58 games amid four seasons with the Titans. He did well in the playoffs, too, with five catches for 89 yards and two touchdowns in four games.

“‘Firk’ built his way up through the practice squad and gained comfort and confidence in the quarterbacks by the way he practiced and what he did,” Vrabel told The Tennessean in 2020.

‘Firk’ Won Awkward Award With Titans

As Firkser’s role increased with the Titans, he ended up with an interesting parking spot at training camp. Firkser received the spot next to Vrabel at camp in 2021, which the former All-Ivy League star quipped about.

“I have to try and get here before him, and leave after him, and that might be hard,” Firkser said via in 2021. “I have to stay away from his [truck].”

“[But] I don’t think that I did anything extraordinary than any of the other guys who were working out this offseason,” Firkser said. “Everyone was here, trying to help the team. But I was thankful for the award.”

Whether or not Firkser will park next to Patriots head coach Bill Belichick at training camp remains to be seen.