The New England Patriots have signed veteran defensive lineman Ricky Jean Francois. New England announced the move on Tuesday. The terms of the contract were not announced. The Patriots placed linebacker Don’t’a Hightower on injured reserve and re-signed defensive lineman Mike Purcell to the practice squad in corresponding transactions.
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Jean Francois, 30, entered the NFL as a seventh round pick by the San Francisco 49ers in the 2009 NFL Draft. The 6 foot 3, 313 pound defender joined the Indianapolis Colts in 2015 as an unrestricted free agent. He signed with the Washington Redskins in 2015 after being cut by the Colts. He signed with the Green Bay Packers on March 23 as an unrestricted free agent.
The LSU product has 236 tackles, 12 sacks, nine passes defensed, a fumble recovery and a forced fumble in 115 NFL appearances. He has 35 career starts.
The 30-year-old should provide some depth to a line that’s now dealing with an injury to starter Malcom Brown (ankle). Jean-Francois started the year with the Packers, was cut, returned to the team later in September, before getting released last week.
Aside from football, Jean-Francois’ claim to fame is owning 30 Dunkin’ Donuts across the country.
Ricky Jean Francois is also is a savvy businessman — in an industry that surely will endear him to fans of his new team. Jean Francois owns 30 Dunkin’ Donuts franchises across South Carolina and Georgia. And everyone knows Bostonians love their Dunkin’. The idea to become a donut shop proprietor came to Jean Francois after he signed his first big NFL contract — a four-year, $22 million deal with the Indianapolis Colts. The defensive lineman was in his mid-20s at the time (he’ll turn 31 later this month), and he wanted to set himself up for life after football and avoid the pitfalls of wealth that have burned so many other pro athletes.
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