The New England Patriots returned to the practice fields behind Gillette Stadium on Wednesday to start their preparation for the upcoming game against the Arizona Cardinals. Among those partaking in the session also was a rookie who had spent the last three weeks on New England’s injured reserve list: tight end Devin Asiasi was back, according to reporters present for the session.
Asiasi was moved to injured reserve earlier this month because of an undisclosed ailment, and after missing three games was eligible to rejoin the team this week. This has now happened, which in turn opens a 21-day window for him to either be activated to the 53-man roster or revert back to IR and spend the remainder of the season there.
One of the Patriots’ third-round draft picks this year, Asiasi originally started the season as the team’s number two at the tight end position behind Ryan Izzo. After playing 81 of a possible 337 offensive snaps over the first five games of the season but not registering any statistics, the rookie saw his role on the team change: he was a healthy scratch in Week 7 before being deactivated because of personal reasons in Week 8.
One week after his move to injured reserve, Asiasi was joined on the list by fellow third-round rookie Dalton Keene — leaving New England’s tight end depth chart even thinner than it already was. The Patriots subsequently added Jordan Thomas off waivers to bolster the position behind Izzo. Rookies Jake Burt and Paul Quessenberry are offering additional depth on the practice squad.
With Asiasi now scheduled to return, the Patriots are getting some help on the offensive side of the ball. Of course, the question remains when the rookie will be brought back to the 53-man roster and what kind of impact he will eventually have. At least theoretically, however, the 23-year-old is eligible to play against Arizona.