The New England Patriots had a decision to make today whether or not to activate Malcolm Mitchell from injured reserve to their 53-man roster. The second-year wide receiver was designated as the second and final returnee three weeks ago and the deadline for his return is today at 4:00 p.m. ET. However, Mitchell will not join the Patriots' roster as head coach Bill Belichick confirmed earlier today.
Mitchell was originally placed on injured reserve on September 7 because of a knee injury. The second-year receiver spent almost the entire regular season on the sidelines and was activated prior to the Patriots' week 17 game against the New York Jets. Since then, the 24-year old was regularly spotted at practice but has not yet been activated to New England's active roster.
When the Patriots returned to practice earlier today, Mitchell was not spotted - an early indication about the team's decision not to activate him. Belichick's remarks that he “has not been activated” confirm this. The 24-year old now joins linebacker Shea McClellin as a player designated to return off injured reserve but unable to actually join the team. McClellin suffered a setback during practice and was not activated as a result.
With Mitchell out for the rest of year, New England's wide receiver corps moving forward consists of Brandin Cooks, Chris Hogan and Danny Amendola as the top options, with Phillip Dorsett and Kenny Britt behind them.