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Injury update: Patriots activate Rex Burkhead from injured reserve, release OL Matt Tobin

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Burkhead’s return should strengthen the Patriots’ red zone production.

New England Patriots v Detroit Lions Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

The New England Patriots running back room will be a little bit stronger as Rex Burkhead has been activated from the injured reserve, per ESPN’s Field Yates.

Burkhead has been sidelined with a neck injury since exiting week 3’s loss against the Detroit Lions. He started the first two weeks of the season, gaining 86 rushing yards and 31 receiving yards on 27 touches.

Burkhead gained 518 yards from scrimmage as the #3 running back last year, behind Dion Lewis and James White, and signed a 3-year, $9.75 million contract in March.

Burkhead will split time with rookie Sony Michel, who has been dominant when able to remain on the field. Michel leads the Patriots with 586 rushing yards and 5 rushing touchdowns in only eight games. New England has struggled in the red zone at times- particularly inside the 10-yard line- and Burkhead’s versatility as a runner, receiver, and blocker should improve results.

The Patriots will have to make a corresponding roster move.

Welcome back Burkhead!

[UPDATE] According to the Providence Journal’s Mark Daniels, the Patriots are releasing backup offensive lineman Matt Tobin to make room on their 53-man roster for Burkhead.