Patriots release wide receiver Malcolm Mitchell

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- The New England Patriots informed third-year wide receiver Malcolm Mitchell, who starred in the team's remarkable Super Bowl LI comeback but has battled a knee issue for the past year, that he isn't part of their plans in 2018.

The team officially released Mitchell on Monday.

A 2016 fourth-round pick out of Georgia, Mitchell had five catches for 63 yards in the second half of Super Bowl LI as the Patriots charged back from a 28-3 deficit to beat the Atlanta Falcons. At that point, he appeared to be a big part of the team's future, while his advocacy for reading generated national headlines because of his own inspirational personal story.

But Mitchell missed all of the 2017 season with a knee injury, and despite spending the majority of the past offseason at the team's facility to be ready for spring practices and training camp, he wasn't a full participant in practices.

On July 23, three days before the team's first practice of training camp, Mitchell had his knee examined by doctors. The Boston Herald and Providence Journal reported at the time that the evaluation included a procedure to determine the extent and cause of discomfort in Mitchell's knee.

Because Mitchell hadn't been practicing with the team in training camp, his place on the depth chart was unclear. The Patriots are preparing to be without top receiver Julian Edelman for the first four games of the regular season, and they have Chris Hogan, Phillip Dorsett, Cordarrelle Patterson, Eric Decker, Kenny Britt, and youngsters Riley McCarron, Braxton Berrios, Devin Lucien and Paul Turner at the position.

Mitchell thanked the Patriots and the fans via an Instagram post Monday night.