Patriots: Devin Asiasi to miss Sunday’s game after death of friend

The Patriots will not have rookie TE Devin Asiasi for Sunday’s game in Buffalo, for very personal reasons.

The Patriots have not gotten the production they envisioned from their pair of 2020 third-round tight ends Devin Asiasi and Dalton Keene, and that trend will continue on Sunday for a very tragic reason.

Already without both Julian Edelman (knee surgery, IR) and N’Keal Harry (concussive worries) for their Sunday battle with the Bills, the Patriots announced prior to the game that Asiasi also didn’t travel with the team, leaving the tight end snaps once again to Keene and Ryan Izzo.

“Personal reasons” was the stated issue, and reporters have learned that the reason for the absence appears to be the tragic death of a close friend.

Asiasi posted an Instagram tribute to 30-year-old rapper “Juice Boi,” who was shot on Friday in the San Mateo Area.

It would appear that the ex-UCLA tight end isn’t accompanying the team to Buffalo for a related reason.

This is another blow to a Patriots’ group of weapons that will not be close to fully stocked ahead of their crucial divisional matchup this week on the road in a strikingly empty stadium in Orchard Park.

Expected to pair with Keene during his rookie season to craft a blocking and receiving tandem (after all, New England didn’t add a single tight end in free agency following the retirement of Ben Watson), Asiasi has yet to catch a pass during the campaign. Keene hasn’t been much more prolific, though, hauling in just one reception of his own for eight yards.

We made the argument this offseason that, although the Pats had erred in failing to provide Cam Newton with the type of veteran TE he’s usually comfortable with, this roster objectively wasn’t constructed for Newton, but rather around him after the happy accident of his arrival. He hasn’t used his running backs (James White, specifically) as safety valves the way we thought he would, but needless to say, Asiasi’s personal issues are much more front of mind than his absence’s impact on this contest.