FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Free-agent linebacker Akeem Ayers was one of six players brought to town by the New England Patriots for a workout Wednesday, sparking thoughts of a possible reunion. Ayers played good football for the Patriots as part of their Super Bowl XLIX championship team in 2014.
In addition to Ayers, the Patriots had linebacker Nicholas Grigsby, quarterback Thad Lewis, tight end Ryan O'Malley, wide receiver Jeremy Ross and linebacker Antwione Williams in for workouts. On Tuesday, the club had five other free agents in for workouts: tight end Alex Ellis and defensive backs Jared Carter, Cody Riggs, Channing Stribling and Jomal Wiltz.
This is the time of year when the Patriots often bring in several free agents, as the market has become saturated in the wake of NFL rosters being trimmed from 90 to 53 players. The goal often is to have the most updated information on available players in the event the club needs to fill a hole on its roster.
What makes Ayers' workout stand out is that the position he played for the team in 2014 -- nickel pass-rusher on the edge, and off-the-line linebacker in the base defense -- is still a developing picture in terms of personnel and how it will play out. With linebacker Shea McClellin opening the year on injured reserve (he's eligible to return later this season), a player like Ayers -- assuming he were able to turn back the clock to his 2014 form -- could help fill that void on a unit that plays sub packages about 80 percent of the time.
In 2014, Ayers averaged 42.8 defensive snaps per game once he cracked the team's game-day roster. He finished with 16 tackles, four sacks and an interception.
Since leaving the Patriots, he spent 2015 with the Rams and 2016 with the Colts. He was released by Indianapolis at the final roster cut-down to 53 players this past Saturday.