The New England Patriots released veteran running back Lamar Miller on Saturday, according to a report from ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
Miller, who signed with the Patriots on Aug. 13, spent all of training camp on the physically unable to perform list as he worked his way back from a torn ACL that sidelined him for the entire 2019 season. He made his Patriots practice debut this past Monday, just five days before the 53-man roster cutdown deadline.
As a vested veteran, Miller will not be subject to waivers, and under new rules implemented this season, the Patriots can sign him to their practice squad if he agrees to do so. Teams now are allowed to carry up to six players with unlimited NFL experience (and up to 16 players total) on their practice squads.
Miller, who also could rejoin the Patriots’ active roster at a later date, said this week he was not prepared for the Patriots’ strenuous conditioning program. Running backs coach Ivan Fears indicated the 29-year-old needed more time to work his way back into game shape.
“It?s really early to say a whole lot,” Fears said Wednesday. “He?s coming off a major injury from last year. So you have to give him a chance to get his legs up underneath him, and get back in the groove. It?s only been a day or two.
“We threw him in the fire pretty fast, just because we?re running out of time where you can be very physical in practice. So we wanted to give him a little taste of getting bounced around a little bit. He?s done a great job. I really expect Lamar to bounce back and be the guy he was. But I?m sure that?s going to take a little time.”
With running back Damien Harris reportedly expected to miss the start of the regular season due to with a finger injury, Miller’s release increases undrafted rookie J.J. Taylor’s chances of cracking the 53-man roster.
The 5-foot-6 Taylor garnered praise from Fears during training camp — the coach nicknamed him “Little Dion” after former Patriots back Dion Lewis — and could be a factor in the return game.
The Patriots must trim their roster to 53 players by 4 p.m. ET on Saturday.