N’Keal Harry Update: Will Patriots Wideout Return From IR This Week?

A Harry return is 'definitely possible'


Sep 27, 2021

New England Patriots wide receiver N’Keal Harry could make his return to the field this week.

After sitting out the Patriots’ first three games, Harry is eligible to be activated off injured reserve ahead of Sunday’s Week 4 matchup against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Gillette Stadium. He could begin practicing as early as Wednesday.

Head coach Bill Belichick was asked during his Monday morning video conference whether the team plans to have Harry begin practicing this week.

“It’s a possibility,” Belichick replied. “It’s definitely a possibility. We’ll see where he is today, but he’s making progress, so we’ll probably make that decision in the next 48 hours.”

Harry has been sidelined since a shoulder injury knocked him out of the Patriots’ second preseason game. It’s unclear what role he will have in New England’s passing game once he returns, as he currently projects as the No. 4 receiver behind Jakobi Meyers, Nelson Agholor and Kendrick Bourne.

Meyers and Bourne both had productive days during Sunday’s 28-13 loss to the New Orleans Saints, finishing with nine catches for 94 yards and six catches for 96 yards and a touchdown, respectively.

The Patriots could look to utilize Harry’s 6-foot-4, 225-pound frame and contested-catch ability in the red zone, where they’ve struggled mightily this season. New England has scored touchdowns on just two of its eight red-zone trips, the worst mark in the NFL. All four of Harry’s career touchdown receptions have come from inside the 10-yard line.

Harry has largely disappointed since entering the league as a 2019 first-round draft pick, posting a 45-414-4 receiving line over 21 games while other wideouts selected later in the same draft (D.K. Metcalf, A.J. Brown, Terry McLaurin, Deebo Samuel, etc.) have flourished.

New England entered the week with one open spot on its 53-man roster, so it could activate Harry without a corresponding move, barring any additional transactions.

Thumbnail photo via Bill Streicher/USA TODAY Sports Images
New England Patriots Gillette Stadium
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