The New England Patriots went back to the well Tuesday to shore up their backfield.
Two days after their 26-10 loss to the Detroit Lions on “Sunday Night Football,” the Patriots re-signed running back Kenjon Barner, according to reports from ESPN.com’s Mike Reiss and Karen Guregian of the Boston Herald.
Barner initially signed with New England on Sept. 11 but was released eight days later after being inactive for the team’s Week 2 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars. He had a stall in the Patriots’ locker room Tuesday afternoon, but his name did not appear on the NFL transaction wire, and no corresponding roster move has been reported.
The 28-year-old spent last season with the Philadelphia Eagles, who primarily utilized him as a punt/kick returner. Barner has carried the ball just 77 times and caught 21 passes since entering the league as a sixth-round draft pick in 2013.
Barner’s return could be related to the neck injury running back Rex Burkhead suffered against the Lions. Burkhead played just seven offensive snaps (plus another 11 on special teams) before exiting the game midway through the second half.
Burkhead led the Patriots with 18 carries in Week 1 but has been used sparingly since, tallying just six carries and two receptions over the past two games.
The Patriots, who lost Jeremy Hill to a torn ACL in the season opener, entered the week with three running backs on their 53-man roster (Burkhead, Sony Michel and James White) and one on their practice squad (Ralph Webb).
Kenneth Farrow, who was released from the practice squad last week, also had a locker Tuesday, though it’s unclear if he has returned to the team.
The Patriots, who sit at 1-2, will host the 3-0 Miami Dolphins on Sunday at Gillette Stadium.