FOXBORO, Mass. — Kenny Britt’s first summer as a New England Patriot has not turned out the way he had hoped.
“I expected to be out there,” the veteran wide receiver said Sunday. “But my hamstring told me something different.”
Britt, whom the Patriots signed late in the 2017 season, still has yet to fully recover from the hamstring injury he suffered in a minicamp practice June 5. He has been healthy enough to participate in certain portions of practice but is forced to leave the field once 11-on-11 drills begin.
Sunday was the first time Britt had spoken to reporters since his injury.
“Coming into spring, (I was) focused, ready to go out there and prove myself mentally and physically,” he said. “But that was in the spring. I can’t hold onto that. It is what it is. Right now, I’m just focused on trying to get back out there.”
Britt knows his limitations have cost him valuable practice reps and opportunities to work with Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, who skipped all of the team’s voluntary spring sessions.
“I definitely feel like I’m behind, because I’m not out there with the guys, getting the chemistry that I need with the quarterbacks and just with everybody on the same page with what we do,” he said.
Asked for an update on his injury, Britt said he’s “feeling OK.”
“It’s manageable right now,” he said, “and I’m doing what they ask me to do.”
Britt wouldn’t comment on whether he expects to be healthy for Week 1, saying he’s only focused on getting back on the field as soon as possible.
“You never know with a hamstring,” the 29-year-old said. “One day you’ll feel good, and then something’s in the air and (it’s) popping. And other days, you might feel bad and then get the fastest time you ran out there. So it’s really a feel thing day in and day out.”
The injury has been a source of frustration for Britt, who was removed from the physically unable to perform list two weeks ago, but he’s done his best to maintain a positive attitude. That’s been evident in his demeanor on the practice field, as he’s often seen smiling and has been known to break out some dance moves during stretching lines.
“I know a lot of guys feed off my energy,” Britt explained. “I know I’m in a position where it’s hard to go out there and see guys going to participate in practice, but I can’t come out there looking sad and being mad and miserable. That’s no good for anybody. But that’s just my personality. Every time I wake up, it’s time to get better.”
The 2017 season was a forgettable one for Britt, who was cut by the Cleveland Browns just months after signing a four-year, $32.5 million contract. The Patriots scooped him up in December, and he played sparingly for the remainder of the season, catching two passes for 23 yards in three games.
Britt was a 1,000-yard receiver just two years ago, however, and has a chance to play a prominent role this season for a Patriots team that lost wideouts Danny Amendola and Brandin Cooks and will be without the suspended Julian Edelman for the first four games.
But first, he needs to get healthy.
“I miss every bit of it, to tell you the truth,” Britt said. “The best place is out there on the field for me. That’s my peace. That’s where I love to be, and of course I want to be out there with the guys.”
Thumbnail photo via Zack Cox/NESN.com