The New England Patriots started their on-field preparation for the upcoming game against the Buffalo Bills on Wednesday, taking the practice fields behind Gillette Stadium for the first time all week. Among the players present was one not spotted in quite some time: running back J.J. Taylor. He has been activated off the Coronavirus reserve list.
Taylor, 23, was originally sent to the list on November 29 after testing positive for Covid-19. He subsequently was moved off the active roster and had to miss the Patriots’ games against the Bills and Indianapolis Colts, as well as the bye week separating them.
A rookie free agent signing by the Patriots last year, Taylor has so far appeared in five games this season. Serving as a rotational option in a backfield also featuring Damien Harris, Rhamondre Stevenson and Brandon Bolden, he has 23 touches on his résumé for a total of 45 yards as well as a pair of touchdowns.
Before his trip to reserve/Covid-19, Taylor was a healthy scratch two games in a row. Whether or not his status will change moving forward remains to be seen, but his return bolsters a running back group that was without Harris last Saturday against the Colts.
Harris, who is dealing with a hamstring injury, was also spotted at practice on Wednesday. Stevenson, meanwhile, was a surprise absentee during the early media window.
The Patriots’ first injury report of the week will be released later on Wednesday. The team’s highly anticipated matchup with the Bills is scheduled for a 1 p.m. ET kickoff on Sunday, Dec. 26.