Patriots release LaQuan Williams with Shane Vereen closing in on return

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The Patriots made a roster move on Friday morning that may be setting up another move before they face the Panthers on Monday.

New England announced that they have released wide receiver LaQuan Williams, who signed with the team 10 days ago and didn’t play in any games. Such moves late in the week are nothing new for the Patriots or other teams as they shuffle their roster ahead of gameday to make sure they have the preferred mix of players available to them.

Dropping Williams may be the first step in something more than simple housekeeping, though. Running back Shane Vereen is close to making his return from the broken wrist that landed him on injured reserve with the designation to return and Williams’ roster spot could wind up going to Vereen in the first week he’s eligible to play.

Williams played 23 games for the Ravens over the last two seasons, catching four passes in 2011 but serving in a special teams role for the majority of his time in Baltimore.