The New England Patriots began to prepare for life without Julian Edelman on Tuesday, signing rookie wide receiver Chris Harper from their practice squad and releasing offensive lineman Chris Barker to make roster room.
Harper, an undrafted free agent, began the 2015 season on the Patriots’ active roster before being waived Sept. 15. He cleared waivers the next day and has been on the practice squad since Sept. 17.
Harper, 21, had a solid preseason with the Patriots, catching 15 passes for 150 yards and one touchdown. The 5-foot-11, 175-pound receiver caught 163 passes in three seasons at California for 2,030 yards with 13 touchdowns. He also returned 19 punts for 122 yards.
Edelman reportedly suffered a broken foot in Week 11 and is projected to be out six to eight weeks after undergoing surgery Monday.
Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels said Tuesday that no single wideout can replace Edelman, but Harper and fellow receivers Danny Amendola, Keshawn Martin and Aaron Dobson will receive more playing time in his absence.
Barker was signed off the Patriots’ practice squad Saturday to back up the starting offensive line in Sunday’s game. He played right tackle in goal-line situations.
Thumbnail photo via Derick E. Hingle/USA TODAY Sports Images
Thumbnail photo via Aug 22, 2015; New Orleans, LA, USA; New England Patriots wide receiver Chris Harper (14) returns a kick against the New Orleans Saints during the first half of a preseason game at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports
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