Ben Roethlisberger #7 of the Pittsburgh Steelers is sacked by Andre Carter #93 of the New England Patriots during the game on October 30, 2011 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
In news that shouldn't come as too big of a surprise, Patriots free agent pass rusher Andre Carter has reportedly continued to check into the Patriots facilities at Gillette Stadium, as he rehabs from his torn quadriceps injury suffered late in the regular season. Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald reports:
Free agent defensive end Andre Carter, who tore his quad last season with the Patriots, was at Gillette Stadium yesterday to check in with the Patriots' medical staff, according to a source. Carter's rehab is also ahead of schedule, though he isn't ready to return to the field just yet.
As such, there is nothing imminent in terms of a new contract, though it's obviously still early in the offseason. The Patriots will conclude their organized team activities tomorrow, and they've got their mandatory minicamp next week before they break for a month and a half. Training camp is expected to start in late July.
The fact that Carter continues to check in with the Patriots, this late in to the rehab process, is certainly an encouraging sign. Carter, who hasn't received much interest on the open market because of his injury, has expressed a desire to return to the Patriots. When considering the lack of veteran leaders among the pass rushers, a Carter-Patriots reunion makes a lot of sense for both sides - assuming he can get healthy.
My guess is that Carter will ultimately end up returning to the Patriots on an incentive-laden one year contract. I think that deal may not end up being consummated until close to the start of training camp. However, if Carter is really close to seeing the field, the deal could come sooner, as the Patriots now have two open roster spots thanks to the roster moves made earlier today (although I don't think the moves are related to Carter's progress).