Patriots Acquire Wide Receiver After Sudden Retirement by Jalen Hurd

Bill Belichick

Getty Bill Belichick made moves a wide receiver on Tuesday.

After the sudden retirement of wide receiver Jalen Hurd, the New England Patriots claimed wide receiver Thyrick Pitts off of waivers on Tuesday, August 1.

Pitts, an undrafted rookie, signed with the Chicago Bears and participated in offseason workouts and training camp before the team released him on July 31. The former Delaware standout garnered 57 receptions for 631 yards and 10 touchdowns in 2022.

A 6-foot-3 receiver, Pitts played six seasons for the Blue Hens and amassed 172 receptions for 2,429 yards and 23 touchdowns in 59 career games. During the pre-draft process, Pitts impressed at his pro day with a 39-inch vertical and a 4.45-second 40-yard dash.

“I felt like I checked every box I needed to,” Pitts told Inside NOVA in April. “Athletically, I think I was right up there with the best prospects numbers-wise.

“I’m in this position because I stayed [at Delaware],” Pitts added. “It’s for the best.”

Patriots WR Remains Tough to Crack

Hurd had an uphill battle to crack the Patriots roster, and Pitts likely will have the same. The Patriots already have a slew of rookies vying for spots — Demario Douglas, Kayshon Boutte, Malik Cunningham and Ed Lee.

Younger players such as Tre Nixon and Raleigh Webb will look to carve out roles. Above the aforementioned younger players on the depth chart, the Patriots have experienced veterans in JuJu Smith-Schuster, DeVante Parker, Kendrick Bourne and Tyquan Thornton.

Jalen Hurd Couldn’t Shake Injuries

Hurd called it a career after he sustained an unnamed injury at training camp on Monday, July 31.

Hurd, 27, signed with the Patriots in late July after a year away from the game. The San Francisco 49ers selected Hurd with a third-round pick in the 2019 draft.

A 6-foot-4 wideout, Hurd had a solid college career with Tennessee and Baylor between 2014 and 2018. He tallied 4,282 yards of total offense and scored 33 touchdowns in 45 career games.

Hurd had a promising career first as a running back and then wide receiver, a transition he made with the Vols. Injuries in college and the pros curtailed his career in the end, starting with injures at Tennessee.

He sustained a knee injury in 2018 with Baylor, and he landed on injured reserve in 2019 due to a back injury with the 49ers. Hurd spent the 2020 season on injured reserve, too, due to an ACL tear at training camp.

It didn’t improve in 2021 when a knee injury led him to injured reserve for a third-straight year with the 49ers. San Francisco released him in November 2021.

“We realized he wasn’t going to come back this year,” 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan said in 2021 via “We were giving it as much time as we could. We all felt very strongly that if he could come back, how much he could have helped us. But for the third year in a row, just with his [bad luck] with these injuries, how it was healing, we knew it wasn’t going to be this year.”

Hurd’s career concludes with no regular season snaps due to his rash of injuries since 2018. His lone highlight with the Patriots came in practice on Sunday, July 30, when he caught a touchdown from quarterback Bailey Zappe.

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