The New England Patriots were back on the practice fields behind Gillette Stadium on Wednesday, starting their on-field preparation for their upcoming Week 13 showdown with the Buffalo Bills. They also welcomed a member of their injured reserve list back at practice.
Linebacker Jamie Collins was spotted by the reporters on site, which means that his 21-day roster activation window has now been opened.
Over the next three weeks, the Patriots will have to make a decision on Collins. Either they will activate him to their 53-man roster or else he will revert back to injured reserve and stay there for the remainder of the season.
Collins, 32, is on his third stint as a Patriot. The former second-round draft pick, who spent time with the organization between 2013 and 2016 and again in 2019, rejoined the team in early October following his release by the Detroit Lions. He went on to appear in five games as a rotational linebacker, notching seven tackles as well as one sack and one interception.
However, an ankle injury suffered in Week 9 against the Carolina Panthers forced the team to send him to injured reserve.
“We’ll see where we are this week,” said Patriots head coach Bill Belichick about Collins earlier this week. “He’s working hard. He does everything that he can every day. I’m sure he’ll be out there as soon as he can.”
In case the team does decide to activate Collins at one point over the coming three weeks, it would have to free up a spot for him on the 53-man roster. At the moment, nine of those are filled by members of the linebacker group.
In theory, Collins could be activated as early as this week and therefore take the field against the Bills on Monday Night Football.
While the veteran linebacker was spotted at practice on Wednesday, others were not. Safety Kyle Dugger was absent during the early portion open to the media, as were practice squad members Alex Reynolds and Thakarius Keyes. Running back J.J. Taylor, who was sent to the Covid-19 reserve list was also a no-show.