Once again, the New England Patriots’ worst fears were confirmed less than 24 hours after a preseason game.

An MRI revealed Friday that defensive back/return man Cyrus Jones suffered a torn ACL and partially torn meniscus in his right knee. He’ll miss the entire season.

This is the third ACL injury for the Patriots this summer. Derek Rivers went down earlier in training camp and last week the Patriots lost Julian Edelman.

Jones’ injury came at 8:38 of the second quarter in Thursday’s preseason game against the New York Giants. The second-year player suffered the injury while covering Travis Rudolph on a pass play. There was no contact during the play, which immediately made the Patriots fear the worst.

Jones had a disappointing rookie season in 2016, which saw him fumble five times in the return game. But this summer he looked like he was turning it around. Before Thursday’s game, Jones was the only member of the Patriots to return a punt in the preseason. This summer he returned seven punts for 71 yards (10.1 average).

When Edelman went down, it was expected that Jones would take over the punt returning role. Instead the Patriots are now searching for answers.

Danny Amendola has the most experience, returning 147 punts in his career. But with his injury history, the Patriots would rather not put him in harm’s way. The only other players to have returned punts in the NFL are Brandin Cooks (13) and Patrick Chung (2).

When Jones went down, undrafted rookie Will Likely returned two punts for 7 yards. At Maryland, he had four punt return touchdowns. D.J. Foster also returned three punts last preseason for the Patriots.

ROGER GOODELL, the NFL commissioner, was aware that one of his lead investigators believed Ezekiel Elliott shouldn’t be disciplined before the Dallas running back was suspended for six games in a domestic violence case, said a league spokesman, Brian McCarthy.

McCarthy disputed a key claim in a lawsuit filed by the players’ union on behalf of Elliott seeking to vacate an upcoming ruling on an appeal.

McCarthy said Goodell knew of investigator Kia Roberts’ contention that Elliott’s accuser wasn’t credible before deciding to suspend Elliott.

BROWNS: Quarterback Brock Osweiler was released by Cleveland, which will have to pay his $16 million guaranteed contract not to have him on their roster, a person familiar with the team’s moves said.

SEAHAWKS-JETS: Seattle acquired defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson from New York for wide receiver Jermaine Kearse and a second-round draft pick, bolstering a defense that was already considered among the best in the NFL.

STEELERS: The NFL granted wide receiver Martavis Bryant permission to participate in regular-season games, nearly 18 months after being suspended for violating the league’s substance abuse policy.