The New England Patriots were back on the fields behind Gillette Stadium today to hold their second practice in preparation for their upcoming preseason game against the Carolina Panthers. After the team already saw numerous pass catchers return from injury yesterday — Julian Edelman, N’Keal Harry, Maurice Harris, Matt LaCosse — it also welcomed back another skill position player today: veteran Demaryius Thomas has returned.
The veteran wide receiver originally opened training camp on the physically unable to perform list (PUP) after originally tearing his Achilles tendon last December. Seeing him back at practice meant that he had passed his physical and was officially removed off the reserve list. Moving forward, Thomas is now cleared to again participate in the Patriots’ practice sessions — and to fight for a spot on the team’s 53-man roster.
New England originally signed the 31-year-old in mid-April to bolster a pass-catching group that saw the departures of Rob Gronkowski, Chris Hogan and Cordarrelle Patterson earlier during the offseason. Due to his recovery, however, Thomas was unable to participate in the team’s spring workouts and also had to sit out the first weeks of training camp and the preseason. Now, however, he has progressed enough to once again enter the equation.
Thomas, of course, is no lock to make the roster despite his previous success in the NFL and the experience he brings to the table. After all, New England is deep at wide receiver with the above-mentioned Edelman and Harry as locks to make the team, while recently reinstated Josh Gordon, veteran Phillip Dorsett and undrafted rookie Jakobi Meyers also appear to have very good odds of being on the club’s active roster come opening day.
This means that Thomas will have to go against the likes of offseason addition Maurice Harris and second-year man Braxton Berrios to earn what is likely the final spot on the position depth chart.