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There’s more optimism about Patriots’ Christian Barmore’s knee injury

Defensive end Christian Barmore (center) couldn't put any weight on his right leg as he was helped off the field in the fourth quarter Sunday.Lynne Sladky/Associated Press

An MRI revealed Monday that Patriots rookie defensive tackle Christian Barmore avoided a serious injury in Sunday’s loss to the Dolphins, during which he was carted off the field.

NFL Network first reported Sunday evening that the initial evaluations of Barmore’s right knee were “promising,” and added that the MRI came back “clean.”

Coach Bill Belichick did not have an update on Barmore after the game, but expressed optimism Monday morning during his weekly radio interview on WEEI.

“I’d say we’re hopeful,” Belichick said.

Things didn’t look good for Barmore when he went down while trying to make a tackle in the fourth quarter and couldn’t put any pressure on his right leg as he was helped off the field. He was visibly emotional following the injury.


Seen here earlier in the season, Christian Barmore has had plenty of reasons to smile this year.Jim Davis/Globe Staff

More clarity will come once the Patriots begin practicing this week. Since Week 12, Barmore has been listed as a limited participant in practice because of his knee. It is unclear whether the injury he sustained Monday is related to the existing issue.

In his first NFL season, Barmore has played an important role at the line of scrimmage for New England’s defense, helping pressure the quarterback and disrupt passes. He appeared in all 17 games this year, starting two, and recorded 46 tackles and nine quarterback hits.

Broncos after Jerod Mayo

The Denver Broncos have requested permission to speak to Patriots inside linebackers coach Jerod Mayo for their head coach opening.

The Broncos fired Vic Fangio Sunday morning after a 7-10 season. In three years in Denver, Fangio was 19-30 with no playoff appearances. The job was his first as an NFL head coach after more than 20 years as a defensive coordinator.

Could Jerod Mayo be in line for a head coaching gig sooner rather than later?Jim Davis/Globe Staff

Mayo is expected to draw interest across the league, as the Broncos are just one of six teams (Miami, Minnesota, Las Vegas, Chicago, Jacksonville) looking for a new head coach so far. The Broncos are the first team to request an interview with Mayo, but could be a tough sell.


Since Peyton Manning won Super Bowl 50 six years ago, Denver has had 10 different starting quarterbacks, and will definitely be on the hunt for another one this offseason, in which they’ll have the ninth overall pick in the draft. The divisional competition is also extremely fierce, with the Chiefs (Patrick Mahomes), Chargers (Justin Herbert), and Raiders (Derek Carr).

Mayo, in his third season on Belichick’s staff, has previously stated he is interested in becoming a head coach. Last offseason, both he and offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels interviewed with the Eagles, but the job went to Nick Sirianni.

Mac Jones owns fumble

Center David Andrews said Monday that a “shoe problem” required him to miss two snaps late in the third quarter of Sunday’s game.

Mac Jones is seen on the sidelines after his second-half fumble Sunday against the Dolphins.Barry Chin/Globe Staff

During that time, Ted Karras shifted from left guard to center and backup lineman Michael Onwenu filled in for Karras. The change may have gone unnoticed had Mac Jones not mishandled one of the snaps and fumbled, a turnover that stunted a much-needed, potential scoring drive for the Patriots.

The ball was recovered by Dolphins rookie linebacker Jaelan Phillips at Miami’s 24-yard line.

After the game, Jones took full responsibility.

“I’ve been doing that since Pop Warner, just get the ball from the center,” Jones said. “It doesn’t matter who the center is. It wasn’t Ted’s fault. It’s my fault. I’ve got to get the ball and hand it off to the running back. It’s not like it was some giant play that required a bunch of things. So you never want those things to happen.”


Undrafted adds

The Patriots signed cornerback D.J. Daniel and wide receiver Jaylen Smith to their practice squad. Daniel, 23, went undrafted out of Georgia this year and signed with the Jaguars before getting released during the preseason. Smith, 24, went undrafted out of Louisville in 2019 and has had brief stints with the Seahawks practice squad and the CFL’s Toronto Argonauts. Smith led Louisville in receiving in 2017, when he connected with Lamar Jackson for 60 receptions, 980 yards, and seven touchdowns. He measures in at 6-foot-2 and 227 pounds . . . The Patriots placed rookie cornerback Shaun Wade on the Reserve/COVID-19 list. He was one of just two players to go on the list leaguewide. Wade, who was traded to New England at the end of training camp, has appeared in three games this season. Defensive back Myles Bryant and offensive tackle Yodny Cajuste remain on the list as well . . . Former Patriots running back Kevin Faulk will be inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame. Faulk, who spent his entire NFL career in New England after four seasons at LSU, is one of 18 players in the 2022 class. The ceremony is scheduled for Dec. 6.

Nicole Yang can be reached at nicole.yang@globe.com.Follow her on Twitter @nicolecyang.