While currently still on the injured reserve list, Langi’s 21-day activation window will come to a close on Thursday. The Patriots either have to add him back to their 53-man roster or keep him on injured reserve for the remainder of the season.
Langi was originally placed on IR in late October after suffering an MCL sprain during the Patriots’ Week 7 win over the New York Jets. He was a no-show throughout November but did return to the team’s practice fields on December 2 to kick open the three-week window to either return to the active squad or be shut down for good.
So far, the team has not made a decision but it seems likely that Langi will be activated over the coming days.
New England currently carries only 51 active players after deciding not to fill the spots previously held by backup offensive lineman Yasir Durant (reserve/Covid-19) and rookie linebacker Ronnie Perkins (injured reserve). Activating Langi would therefore not require any additional transactions being made, especially after the team already parted ways with his de facto replacement — fellow special teams linebacker Calvin Munson — last week.
Langi himself joined the Patriots earlier this year. A former rookie free agent who started his NFL career in New England in 2017, he spent the last three seasons with the Jets. New York parted ways with him during the offseason, however, to clear the path for him to return to his old stomping grounds.
The 29-year-old has since appeared in seven games for the Patriots, playing 98 snaps on special teams and 16 on defense and registering a combined three tackles. It would not be a surprise if he gets a chance to add to those numbers as early as this week against the Buffalo Bills.
The Patriots have two other players waiting in the wings who might return this week as well. Josh Uche returned to practice himself recently off injured reserve, and would offer depth at the outside linebacker position following the loss of Perkins. Running back J.J. Taylor, meanwhile, appears to be nearing a return off the Covid-19 reserve list.