New England Patriots

The New England Patriots have officially activated running back Rex Burkhead from the injured reserve and released offensive lineman Matt Tobin from the 53-man roster, the team announced Monday.

Burkhead was placed on injured reserve on Sept. 26 with a neck injury after he played in three games, with two starts and 24 rushing attempts for 86 yards and three receptions for a total of 31 yards.

Burkhead’s return to the active roster comes a day after Patriots head coach Bill Belichick praised the impact of New England’s running game, which totaled 215 yards on the ground in a 27-13 win over the Jets at Metlife Stadium.

“It always helps when you can run the ball,” Belichick said Sunday. “It always opens up everything else. It keeps you out of those long yardage situations, which we have been in the last couple of weeks. I thought our backs ran well.

“I thought our line and our receivers blocked well. They’re an important part of the running game too. Obviously the offensive line, our tight ends, and James [White] and Rob [Gronkowski]… you can’t run the ball with just one guy. Everybody has to block. A lot of people do a good job running and finishing our runs. So, credit to everybody.”

With Burkhead back in the mix, the Patriots will finally be able to rotate a three-man running back unit featuring standout rookie Sony Michel and pass-catching stud James White. It will also likely pump the brakes on the Cordarrelle Patterson the Running Back Experiment, which actually (and surprisingly) worked at various points this season in Burkhead’s absence.

Burkhead totaled 264 yards with a career-high five touchdowns on the ground and set career-highs in the passing game with 30 catches, 254 receiving yards, and three receiving touchdowns last season.