New England Patriots

FOXBOROUGH, MA - OCTOBER 04: Sony Michel #26 of the New England Patriots runs with the ball during the first half against the Indianapolis Colts at Gillette Stadium on October 4, 2018 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

By Matt Dolloff,

Patriots running back Sony Michel is officially off the physically unable to perform list, according to the NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport. Michel’s presence at practice, his first since training camp was opened to reporters, is a strong-enough indication of that.

Michel took the field and watched from the sidelines during an early walkthrough, according to Karen Guregian of the Boston Herald. But a video by the Boston Globe’s Jim McBride shows the third-year back participating in individual drills and looking “free and fluid.”

This marks the third in as many NFL seasons that Michel started training camp on the shelf. He underwent foot surgery in the offseason and dealt with knee issues in 2018 and 2019. He’s looking to bounce back after a regression from a productive rookie season. In 2019 he averaged just 3.7 yards per carry after averaging 4.5 in 2018.

Michel’s late start to camp comes as second-year back Damien Harris continues to earn high marks from reporters in attendance. Harris appears to be in the lead for the starting running back job, based on his practice reps to this point and reactions from onlookers.

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Harris barely played in 2019, but in true Patriot form, he’s just focused on the present.

“The easiest way to get past that – I mean, that’s last year, it has nothing to do with this year, it has nothing to do with what’s going on right now,” Harris said in a recent video conference. “That is something that I don’t even think about because it does me no good, all I can focus on is how I can continue to focus this year, this training camp, going out there with the right attitude, right mindset, and just try to keep stacking days together. That’s my focal point right now.”

Michel certainly has the edge in real game experience, as does Rex Burkhead. But Harris appears to be taking the lead now that he’s been out there the whole time. Michel has some catching up to do.

Keep checking back here for the latest news, notes and highlights from Patriots training camp.

Matt Dolloff is a digital producer for 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? Yell at him on Twitter @mattdolloff or send him a nasty email at