FOXBORO, Mass. — Reinforcements arrived Wednesday for the 2-3 New England Patriots.
Back on the practice field for the first time since their 18-12 loss to the Denver Broncos, the Patriots returned three players from injured reserve and three more from the reserve/COVID-19 list.
Center David Andrews, rookie linebacker Josh Uche and, perhaps most notably, defensive tackle Beau Allen all practiced Wednesday for the first time since landing on IR.
Andrews and Uche have missed the last three games. Allen, one of the Patriots’ earliest free agent signings this past spring, has yet to appear in a game for the Patriots and had been out of practice since the opening week of training camp.
Andrews, who reportedly underwent surgery to repair a broken thumb on his snapping hand, had that thumb heavily taped at practice.
New England now has 21 days to add Andrews, Uche and Allen to the 53-man roster. All three are eligible to play Sunday against the San Francisco 49ers if activated.
The Patriots also got guard Shaq Mason, defensive tackle Byron Cowart and outside linebacker Derek Rivers back from COVID reserve after all three were sidelined for Sunday’s loss to the Broncos.
Defensive tackle Carl Davis, whom New England signed off the Jacksonville Jaguars’ practice squad last week, made his Patriots practice debut.
Offensive line, D-tackle and linebacker have been positions of concern for the Patriots in recent weeks. Andrews and Mason are longtime O-line starters; Cowart started the first four games on defense before testing positive for the coronavirus; and the 327-pound Allen was viewed as a one-for-one replacement for top 2019 nose tackle Danny Shelton entering training camp.
Uche, a second-round pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, also provides upside and athleticism at the linebacker position. He was heavily involved in camp but has yet to make his NFL debut.
Running back James White, offensive tackle Jermaine Eluemunor and reserve center/guard James Ferentz were not spotted during the open media portion of practice.
Eluemunor left Sunday’s game with an ankle injury. Ferentz remains on the reserve/COVID-19 list along with running back Sony Michel, who also is on IR.
The reason for White’s absence was unclear. The veteran back has been New England’s top pass-catching over over the last two games, tallying 15 receptions on 17 targets for 103 yards in losses to the Kansas City Chiefs and Broncos.
This was New England’s first Wednesday practice since Sept. 30, the week of the Chiefs game. A series of positive COVID tests — beginning with quarterback Cam Newton’s on Oct. 2 — limited them to just one practice in each of the last two weeks.