FOXBORO, Mass. — N’Keal Harry asked out of New England. But for now, he insists he’s happy to be there.
“I’m a Patriot right now,” the third-year wide receiver said Friday after the team’s third training camp practice. “I’m very OK with being a Patriot. … Right now, I’m at New England Patriots training camp. I’m just making sure I do everything I can to fit in with this team and everything that I can to help this team win.”
Harry said his trade request — which his agent, Jamal Tooson, publicly shared on July 6 — hasn’t resulted in any awkwardness inside the Patriots’ facility.
“Everything’s been very normal,” Harry said. “I’m just focusing on helping this team win and doing everything I can to be the best player I can be.”
New England’s top pick in the 2018 NFL Draft (32nd overall), Harry has managed just 45 catches for 445 yards and four touchdowns over his first two seasons while several wideouts selected later in the same draft (A.J. Brown, DK Metcalf, Deebo Samuel, Terry McLaurin) have flourished.
Toosan’s statement blamed Harry’s lack of NFL production to date on a lack of opportunities. Last season, as part of arguably the league’s weakest receiving corps, Harry started nine games and saw 57 targets, catching 33 for 309 yards and two scores. 2019 undrafted free agent Jakobi Meyers leapfrogged Harry on the depth chart midseason and was by far the Patriots’ best pass-catcher over the final 11 weeks.
With the Patriots making a point to add weapons during the offseason, Harry currently sits no higher on the team’s wideout depth chart behind Meyers and veteran newcomers Nelson Agholor and Kendrick Bourne.
Harry, who used his 6-foot-4, 225-pound frame to haul down scores of acrobatic contested catches at Arizona State, said he spent the offseason working on his agility. His difficulty creating separation has been a major issue for him since he entered the pros.
“I feel like the past couple years, I’ve been focused on being so big and trying to just play big, I feel like I lost a little bit of my wiggle,” he said. “So this past offseason I’ve done a lot, a lot of agility drills and stuff like that to try to get that wiggle back.”
Harry feels like he’s “gotten off to a pretty good start” in training camp. He caught a couple of touchdown passes in the Patriots’ first practice and another on a goal-line slant during Friday’s session.
“Obviously, there’s room for improvement in certain areas,” he said, “but I’m pretty happy with the start that I’ve gotten so far, and I’m looking forward to keeping that momentum.”
He added: “I feel like we have so many good players on this team, and at some point, at one point or another, we’re going to be able to make a difference. I’m just trying to make sure I can fit in somewhere in there.”
It remains to be seen whether Harry will be traded, released or given a spot on New England’s 53-man roster this summer. Asked whether he’d be happy if he was still with the team at the end of the preseason, he replied: “Absolutely.”
“I just feel like I can really help this team win,” Harry said. “And I feel like I can have a big role within this team.”