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DB Williams gets promotion

In a move that could signal linebacker Tracy White (abdomen, questionable) won't be available for Sunday's season-finale against the Bills, the Patriots promoted defensive back Malcolm Williams off the practice squad today.

Williams was drafted in the seventh round out of Texas Christian and he was active for one game this season (Dec. 11 at Washington), filling a role on three of the "Big 4" special teams units. He got the nod for the season finale over Ross Ventrone, who if promoted would have exhausted his practice squad eligibility for the rest of his career.

The focus on special teams is likely tied to White, one of the Patriots' core special teams players who is part of each of the "Big 4" units -- kickoff return, kickoff coverage, punt return, punt coverage. If White isn't available, there is a significant trickle-down effect in filling all those roles.

To fill Williams' spot on the practice squad, the Patriots re-signed defensive lineman Alex Silvestro (link here).