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Patriots promote undrafted running back J.J. Taylor as Damien Harris heads to IR

Arizona product J.J. Taylor signed to New England’s practice squad on Sunday.

Northern Arizona v Arizona Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Damien Harris will be sidelined through the first three weeks of the 2020 regular season.

The New England Patriots officially placed the running back on injured reserve Monday, and elevated undrafted rookie J.J. Taylor to the 53-man roster from the 16-man practice squad.

The transactions were first reported by Field Yates of ESPN.

Harris, a third-round pick out of Alabama last spring, had been a recent absence at Patriots practice after reportedly undergoing finger surgery. The 23-year-old back will be eligible to return to the active roster before October. In the meantime, his spot on the active depth chart goes to the 5-foot-6, 185-pound Taylor, who was signed to the practice squad during its formation on Sunday afternoon upon clearing waivers.

Taylor received a $7,500 signing bonus and $100,000 in total guarantees from New England as an undrafted free agent. The 21-year-old Arizona product had amassed 3,750 yards from scrimmage for 20 touchdowns during his tenure with the Wildcats. Taylor would tack on another trip to the end zone by way of special teams, where he averaged north of 24 yards per kickoff return in the Pac-12.

Sony Michel, James White and Rex Burkhead are also in the backfield for New England as Sunday’s 1 p.m. ET kickoff against the Miami Dolphins draws closer.

In addition to Taylor, the Patriots announced the promotion of sixth-round rookie linebacker Cassh Maluia from the practice squad with defensive tackle Beau Allen going to IR with an undisclosed injury.

Monday’s procedural moves open up a pair of spots on New England’s scout team for the expected arrivals of former Tennessee Titans undrafted wide receivers Kristian Wilkerson and Mason Kinsey.