FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – The New England Patriots announced today that they claimed DB Troy Hill off waivers from the Cincinnati Bengals and signed WR Chris Harper to the 53-man roster from the practice squad.
In addition, the Patriots released TE Asante Cleveland and WR Leonard Hankerson.
Hill, 24, originally signed with Cincinnati as a rookie free agent out of Oregon on May 8, 2015. The 5-11, 180-pounder, has spent the majority of the season on the Cincinnati practice squad. He was signed to the 53-man roster on Dec.5 and played in three games where he registered six tackles before being released on Dec. 24.
Harper, 21, originally was signed by New England as a rookie free agent out of California on May 8, 2015. The 5-11, 185-pound wide receiver made the 53-man roster and was active for the season opener vs. Pittsburgh on Sept. 10, before being released on Sept. 15. He has rotated between the practice squad and the 53-man roster, seeing action in three games.
Cleveland, 23, was originally acquired by the Patriots in trade with San Francisco on Aug. 18, in exchange for OL Jordan Devey. Cleveland was released by the Patriots on Sept. 5, and was signed to the New England practice squad on Sept. 7, before being signed to the 53-man roster on Nov. 28. He has played in four games with one start and has one reception for 1 yard. Cleveland was originally signed by San Francisco as a rookie free agent out of Miami (Fla.) on May 12, 2014. The 6-foot-5, 250-pounder, spent the first two weeks of the 2014 regular season on the team's practice squad before being signed to the 53-man roster on Sept. 20, and making his NFL debut at Arizona on Sept. 21. He spent the next eight weeks on the team's practice squad before being signed to the 53-man roster on Nov. 27. Cleveland played in the team's final five regular-season games, but did not record any catches.
Hankerson, 26, was claimed by New England off waivers from Atlanta on Dec. 17, 2015. He played in the Patriots' win over Tennessee last week but did not record any statistics. Hankerson spent four seasons (2011-14) with the Washington Redskins and was with the Atlanta Falcons in 2015 until being released on Dec. 15. The 6-foot-2, 211-pounder, originally entered the NFL as a third-round draft pick (79th overall) by Washington in the 2011 NFL Draft out of Miami. He signed with Atlanta as an unrestricted free agent on March 11, 2015. Hankerson has played in 40 games with 14 starts and has 107 receptions for 1,408 yards with nine touchdowns. In eight games with Atlanta in 2015, he totaled 26 receptions for 327 yards with three touchdowns.