FOXBORO, Mass. — Visanthe Shiancoe hadn't stepped onto the football field for the Patriots this season. That changed Tuesday afternoon.
The 32-year-old tight end has been on short-term injured reserved with an undisclosed injury since the Patriots first signed him back on Sept. 5. But on Tuesday, the nine-year veteran finally returned the practice field, and he couldn't have been happier about it.
"I'm excited," Shiancoe said before practice on Wednesday.
Before this season, the former Giants' and Vikings' tight end had never missed a regular season game. So, while he was enthused by the return to the practice field, he's even more anxious to get back on the field and contribute.
"I'm excited to get out there [at practice], but I'll be even more excited to play," Shiancoe said. "So I can't wait for that."
During his nine-plus seasons in the NFL, Shiancoe has built a reputation as a reliable pass catcher. After four somewhat middling seasons with the Giants, Shiancoe finally carved out a place for himself in Minnesota.
From 2008-2011 Shiancoe averaged more than 45 catches and five touchdowns per season, including a career-high 56 grabs and 11 scores in 2009. The Patriots are hoping for more of the same from Shiancoe this season, even in an abbreviated stint, and apparently Shiancoe's eager for the same.