RB Brandon Bolden Activated

Stew Milne-US PRESSWIRE

The Patriots backfield gains some depth and some teeth as the exemption on recently suspended Brandon Bolden is lifted. He fills a vacant space on the 53-man roster.

The big bruiser is back.

After having successfully served his four-game suspension for performance enhancing drugs, the Patriots were granted an exemption for RB Brandon Bolden, having until Tuesday to make a final rostering decision. The Patriots wasted no time and quickly activated the undrafted rookie out of Ole Miss to the 53-man roster this afternoon, although the question of whether he's active and how many snaps he'll log as he returns to "game shape" remains to be seen.

Bolden flew under the radar early in the season, having joined an already crowded backfield of Shane Vereen, Stevan Ridley and Danny Woodhead, but recorded a breakout game of sorts against the Buffalo Bills (137 yards on 16 attempts, 1 TD) that cemented his role on the depth chart. To date Bolden has a sparkling 5.4 yards per carry, albeit from an admittedly small sample size.

Bolden offers a decidedly different skillset from the rest of New England's running backs in the form of a hard-nosed and physical style of play that complements the workhorse sensibilities of Stevan Ridley and the scatback shiftiness of Shane Vereen nicely. It'll be tough for Bolden to make an immediate impact on the field tonight against a stingy Houston Texans run defense that ranks second in the league, but the Patriots will gladly add another weapon to their arsenal that has become heavily depleted by injuries.

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