New Tight End Eric Tomlinson Had A ‘Crazy’ First Week With Patriots

Eric Tomlinson had a crazy week with the New England Patriots, and that’s pretty much the same thing every player says regarding the first week with the team.

Tomlinson signed and practiced with the Pats on Tuesday. He had to go back to Houston, Texas, because of his plans. His wife had a C-section Wednesday morning, and Tomlinson would never miss that. He arrived in Texas right on time for the birth of Leslie Stone Tomlinson.

His first child is named after his dad, Leslie, and the little baby will go by “Stone.”

Tomlinson is expected to play an important role with the Pats. He and Ben Watson are the only tight ends with the team. Ryan Izzo suffered a concussion and Matt LaCosse had a knee issue.

“It’s been a quick adjustment,” Tomlinson said. “Just have to get in the playbook, stay in the playbook and get ready for this week.”

The Patriots need a fullback and tight end, and Tomlinson is fine with both positions.

“In my previous teams, I’ve done both,” Tomlinson said. “I feel comfortable doing both.”

Head coach Bill Belichick shared some details about Tomlinson.

“He’s a bigger guy,” he said Thursday. “Probably more of a . . . you know, bigger, has blocking ability. He has been in the backfield. He’s played on the line of scrimmage. So, I don’t know. We’ll see how that all plays out.”

The offense struggles without Rob Gronkowski, and according to Josh McDaniels, no player will ever replace him.

“Nobody’s going to replace Rob. So it doesn’t matter what we’re doing, or who we bring in, that person is not just going to drop into the offense and say, ‘OK, I’ve got his role covered.’ That’s not going to happen,” McDaniels said. “I think what you do is take the best group you can put together, figure out what their strengths are, and try to play to them.

“So at this point, I don’t really know. It would be unfair for me to say that, because I haven’t really seen many of them out there in our scheme, against a defense, obviously nothing in pads. So I think OTAs and training camp will be big for us this year in terms of evaluating what we have and how we should play. In May, it’s tough to say. It’s tough to project that.”

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