FOXBORO, Mass. — N’Keal Harry’s public trade request has not made him a persona non grata inside the New England Patriots’ facility.
Both of Harry’s position coaches spoke highly of the third-year wide receiver Wednesday, praising his work ethic and attitude.
“I know what was reported and all that stuff, but I just know N?Keal is a guy that I’ve grown to really admire and love,” wide receivers coach Mick Lombardi said after the team’s seventh training camp practice. “He?s a player on our team and in our room, and I think really highly of N’Keal for how he comes in here and works.”
Lombardi, who’s coached Patriots wideouts for the last two seasons, said he has a “great relationship” with Harry, New England’s first-round draft pick in 2019.
“We are business first,” Lombardi said. “He comes in here and works extremely hard, and I appreciate that. He’s very hard working. You know what? I’m going to come and coach him as hard as I can every day, and he’s going to come out here and work hard every day. That’s really all I can ask of him. That’s what he asks of me. He expects me to coach him hard. He’s going to work hard because I coach him hard, and we expect a lot out of him.”
Wide receivers/kick returners coach Troy Brown echoed Lombardi’s comments.
“N’Keal, he came into camp with a great attitude, ready to go, in shape,” Brown said. “And he’s out here just like the rest of the guys in the group. He’s fighting for a spot and he’s done everything so far that we’ve asked him to do.”
Earlier this week, head coach Bill Belichick said he had a “good conversation” with Harry about his trade request.
“N’Keal and I have talked about it,? Belichick said. “We had a good conversation. We have a good relationship, so I?m not going to get into all that.”
Harry has caught just 45 passes on 81 targets for 414 yards and four touchdowns over his two pro seasons while other members of his draft class (A.J. Brown, D.K. Metcalf, Deebo Samuel, Terry McLaurin, etc.) have flourished. Though he has asked out of New England, the 23-year-old said he “absolutely” would embrace a Patriots roster spot this season.
“I?m a Patriot right now,” he said last Friday. “I?m very OK with being a Patriot.”
Harry is off to a promising start in his third Patriots training camp. He impressed Tuesday with a highlight-reel catch against top slot cornerback Jonathan Jones in 1-on-1 drills. Then, he hauled in all six of his targets in competitive team drills Wednesday, including a lunging reception from Cam Newton in 7-on-7s.
“That was a great job by him,” Lombardi said.
Harry also has avoided the injury issues that sidelined him in each of the last two summers, fully participating in each of the first seven camp practices.