After three days of rest, the New England Patriots returned to practice today to start preparations for their upcoming Monday night game against the New York Jets. Among the players present for the session was wide receiver N’Keal Harry, who therefore becomes the team’s first player designated to return off injured reserve: Harry was placed on the list shortly after roster cutdown day and was eligible to start practicing again this week.
The first-round rookie being back at practice is obviously a good sign for the Patriots’ injury-plagued offense, as Harry adds a tremendous amount of talent to a receiver group currently headed by Julian Edelman as well as two players who recently missed in-game action because of ailments: Phillip Dorsett hurt his hamstring against the Washington Redskins, Josh Gordon injured his knee on Thursday against the New York Giants.
Harry being back in the fold significantly bolsters New England’s depth at the wide receiver position — undrafted rookies Jakobi Meyers and Gunner Olszewski are also part of the equation — and opens a 21-day window within which he needs to be officially added to the 53-man roster. He is eligible to return to game action by Week 9, when the Patriots go on the road to take on the Baltimore Ravens.
Designating Harry as the first IR-return player of course means that one of the other eligible players to return from the list will not be able to come back. The expectation at this point in time is that Isaiah Wynn (toe) will be given the second return designation, with fullbacks James Develin (neck) and Jakob Johnson (shoulder) seeing his seasons come to an end on injured reserve.