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Patriots sign DL Ricky Jean Francois; Place LB Dont'a Hightower on Injured Reserve; Sign DL Mike Purcell to the Practice Squad

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. - The New England Patriots announced today that they have signed veteran DL Ricky Jean Francois (pronounced: zhan-fran-SWAH).  Terms of the contract were not announced. 

In addition, the Patriots placed LB Dont'a Hightower on injured reserve and re-signed DL Mike Purcell to the practice squad. 

Jean Francois, 30, played in six games this season for Green Bay before being released on Nov. 1, 2017. The 6-foot-3, 313-pounder, has played for San Francisco (2009-12), Indianapolis (2013-14), Washington (2015-16) and Green Bay (2017). Jean Francois, originally entered the NFL as a seventh round draft pick (244th overall) by San Francisco out of Louisiana State in the 2009 NFL Draft. After four seasons with the 49ers, he joined Indianapolis as an unrestricted free agent in 2013. After being released by the Colts, he signed with Washington in February of 2015 and played with the Redskins for two seasons before being signed by Green Bay as an unrestricted free agent on March 23, 2017. 

Jean-Francois has played in 115 NFL games with 35 starts and has 236 total tackles, 12 sacks, nine passes defensed, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery. He has also played in 11 playoff games with two starts and has 17 total tackles, 1 1/2 sacks and one pass defensed. 

Purcell, 26, was signed by the Patriots to the practice squad on Oct. 25 and released on Oct. 26. He was originally signed by the San Francisco 49ers as a rookie free agent out of Wyoming on May 7, 2013. The 6-foot-3, 328-pounder spent the majority of his first two seasons on the San Francisco practice squad before joining the 49ers 53-man roster on Dec. 19, 2014. Purcell appeared in 25 games with eight starts for the 49ers and totaled 48 tackles, one sack and one forced fumble before being released on May 2, 2017. He was claimed off waivers and awarded to the Los Angeles Rams and was released prior to the start of the regular season. He also had stints on the Chicago Bears and Carolina Panthers practice squads in 2017. 

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