By Matt Dolloff, 985TheSportsHub.com
Patriots rookie receiver N'Keal Harry is definitely eligible to return to practice this week. It sounds like he will indeed see the field right away.
The NFL Network's Ian Rapoport tweeted on Monday that the Patriots expect to have Harry back at practice in Week 7. The way Rapoport put it: "Assuming all goes well, he [Harry] should work right into the offense."
It's potentially huge news for a Patriots offense that has become significantly banged up at WR in recent weeks. The top-3 receivers to start the regular season - Julian Edelman, Josh Gordon, and Phillip Dorsett - are all dealing with injuries that vary in severity.
Harry, the 32nd overall pick in the 2019 draft, flashed his ability as a playmaker in 1-on-1 coverage on the outside during the preseason. Patriots head coach Bill Belichick noted in his Monday conference call that the Patriots hope Harry will be "ready to go" in Week 7, and that it's more important for the rookie to be ready physically than mentally.
"I mean, he’s been able to keep up with everything. It’s just physically, he needs to be able to show that he can go out there and participate competitively and at the practice level that we’re at," said Belichick. "Hopefully that’s where he’ll be, but we’ll make our final evaluations on that before we put him out there."
Assuming Harry returns to practice this week, he will first be eligible to return to game action in Week 9 at the Ravens. Once he returns to practice, the Patriots will have 21 days to activate him.
Rapoport's tweet suggests that the Pats will waste no time working Harry into a regular role in the offense. They could certainly use depth at receiver, if not an injection of talent.
Matt Dolloff is a digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff or email him at [email protected].