HOUSTON -- Wide receiver Michael Floyd headlines theNew England Patriots' seven inactive players for Super Bowl LI, as he was caught in a numbers crunch and passed over for players with more experience in the team's system.
The Patriots spent considerable time talking about ways to get Floyd on the 46-man game-day roster, but they would have had to thin their special-teams ranks or possibly leave themselves short with their goal-line offense to do so.
Ultimately deciding that they would only carry four receivers on game day, the Patriots locked in their top two options, Julian Edelman and Chris Hogan. Then it became a matter of having two spots for three players -- rookie Malcolm Mitchell, veteran Danny Amendola and Floyd.
Because Mitchell and Amendola have been with the team all season, their experience in the system was deemed important to have in Super Bowl LI. That left Floyd, who was claimed on waivers from the Arizona Cardinals on Dec. 15 following a DUI arrest, on the outside looking in.
Floyd, who was also inactive for the AFC Championship Game in a similar situation to Super Bowl LI, is a free agent this offseason and expressed his interest in returning to the Patriots for the 2017 regular season. The interest is mutual.
Floyd joins quarterback Jacoby Brissett, running back D.J. Foster, safety Jordan Richards, offensive tackle LaAdrian Waddle and cornerbacks Justin Coleman and Cyrus Jones as the Patriots' inactive players.
For theAtlanta Falcons, wide receiver Nick Williams, running back Terron Ward, cornerback Blidi Wreh-Wilson, safety Dashon Goldson, linebacker Josh Keyes, offensive lineman Wes Schweitzer and tight end D.J. Tialavea are inactive.
The roof at NRG Stadium will be closed for the game.