The Patriots have promoted defensive lineman Joe Vellano from the practice squad to the 53-man roster in anticipation of the AFC Championship game against the Colts on Sunday, reports Shalise Manza-Young of the Boston Globe (via Twitter). The team has released tight end Steve Maneri in order to make room for Vellano.
Vellano is in his second season with the Patriots, having been active in all 16 games last season and starting eight games, mostly replacing Vince Wilfork who was on injured reserve for most of 2013. However, the Maryland product has spent most of this year on the practice squad, only appearing in five games and starting in one.
Maneri is in his fifth NFL season, playing for five different franchises since originally being signed by the Texans in 2010. He was originally an offensive tackle, but became a tight end upon signing with the Chiefs during the 2012 offseason.
This was his second stint with the Patriots. Maneri has played sparingly, only catching six passes in his career, and only appearing in more than six games in a season once. His 2012 season with the Chiefs was his most successful, as he appeared in 13 games and started eight times.