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Patriots defender Harvey Langi returning to the football field has to be one of the feel-good stories of the year

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Langi saw his rookie season come to an abrupt end last year.

NFL: Combine Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

Even though Harvey Langi went undrafted in 2017, he quickly found a home in the NFL: The New England Patriots signed him to a free agency contract after the draft and the Brigham Young product quickly established himself as a player worth keeping in the fold. He made the Patriots’ 53-man roster, started his rookie year as a developmental depth option and saw his first in-game action in week two of the regular season.

Then his first season as a professional football player came to a sudden end: In October, Langi and his wife, Cassidy, were waiting in their car for a red stoplight to turn green when they were rear-ended by a driver going 50 mph. The couple survived the crash but not without suffering serious injuries. Cassidy sustained fractures to both her hips as well as broken ribs, Harvey injured both his neck and his head.

Fast forward seven months. Langi, after spending the rest of 2017 on New England's non-football injury list, is back on the football field. A months-long rehabilitation process behind him, the 25-year old is now fully participating in the team's organized team activities. “I’m grateful and humble I get to put the helmet back on, the pads back on and be out here and to help out the team,” Langi told reporters after last Thursday's practice.

“The accident was huge, and it was a big setback, but that’s over with, and I’m out here,” the linebacker continued. “It was a scary experience my wife and I had to go through, and thank god my wife is 100 percent fine and recovering. We are just looking forward and progressing and she is doing awesome.”

With the third phase of offseason workouts underway, Langi's focus now lies on his work and on trying to get back to full speed. “It is just an everyday thing for me and I just take it day by day,” he pointed out last week. “I don’t look very far into the future but I haven’t forgot what I need to do, so I just take it day by day. [...] I’m trying to string these days together and stack them day by day.”

Langi re-joins a linebacker group that saw some changes this offseason with the additions of draft picks Ja'Whaun Bentley and Christian Sam and the retirement of David Harris. Furthermore, defensive team captain Dont'a Hightower also returns from injury to add depth to the hybrid end/linebacker role that the Patriots also used Langi in last year.

Ultimately, Langi is aware that him returning to football was not a guarantee after October's events: “I’m just grateful,” he said. “I love being out here. This is great. [...] People ask me what I’m doing today, and I get to put a helmet on and come out here and work with the rest of the guys and give everything I’ve got. That’s the best. So, I’m super grateful and super blessed that things didn’t turn in other directions where I wouldn’t be out here.”

“I’m out here, and I’m grateful,” continued the second-year defender. “I’m just gonna come out here and help and do everything I can to help this team to win some games and hopefully go on to championships.” It sure sounds like Langi is ready to add more chapters to a book that already can be considered one of the feel-good stories of the year.

The quotes in the story were taken from the Boston Herald’s Rich Thompson (After lost 2017 season, Patriots linebacker Harvey Langi looks to improve every day) and NESN's Doug Kyed (Patriots’ Harvey Langi ‘Grateful’ To Be Back On Field After Scary Accident).