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Back on the field, Patriots running back Sony Michel not taking any shortcuts

After foot surgery, running back Sony Michel returned to practice on Aug. 26.

Patriots vs Dolphins Staff Photo By Matt Stone/MediaNews Group/Boston Herald

A passed physical saw Sony Michel make his way off physically unable to perform and onto the practice fields behind Gillette Stadium on Aug. 26.

The time lost isn’t what the New England Patriots running back is focused on now.

“One thing about being in this profession, it’s all about being patient,” Michel told reporters during his video conference call on Friday. “Controlling what you can control and just working your way up to a point that you feel like you’re ready to go. You can’t ever take a shortcut. You can’t ever cut the process short. You have to deal with it. And as long as you just grind through the process and work hard, everything will be fine.”

Michel, who underwent foot surgery in the spring, has led New England in rushing since arriving in the first round of the 2018 NFL draft.

The Georgia product was sidelined for three games during his rookie season as a result of a procedure to drain fluid from his knee and a subsequent knee injury versus the Chicago Bears. But Michel managed to average 4.5 yards per carry by the start of the playoffs and went on to set a rookie playoff record with six rushing touchdowns.

Michel then had arthroscopic surgery prior to the 2019 season. He appeared in every game as his average reduced to 3.7 yards per carry. There were 247 in all on the ground for 912 yards and seven touchdowns.

More are ahead.

“I believe in our staff we have – from the training staff to the strength coaches and even the on-field coaches – that they’re doing everything they can for me to get up to pace,” Michel said. “And however I feel when that time comes, we’re trying to make sure I’m in the best shape possible, make sure my head’s in the right place as far as the playbook and stuff. I’m just trying to learn as much as I can.”

As the calendar flips to September, the 25-year-old Michel vies to retain his between-the-tackles reps. He’ll have to do so on a New England depth chart that includes redshirted third-rounder Damien Harris out of Alabama.

“He goes out there and he just runs hard, and it’s going to push me to run even harder,” Michel said of Harris. “Him going out there and making plays would benefit the team, and whatever I can do to come in and do the same thing.”

James White, Rex Burkhead and undrafted free agent J.J. Taylor also reside in the backfield. Former Pro Bowler Lamar Miller, who signed before the first official practice of training camp, remains on the active-PUP list as he works back from a torn ACL suffered last preseason.

The Patriots are scheduled to open the campaign on Sept. 13 versus the Miami Dolphins.

It is the time afforded in a truncated summer.

“I felt good. There is a theory that me missing as much practice as I did, I’m supposed to have fresh legs,” Michel said. “But I’ve been working my way up to that point. But I felt good just being out there.”