With three weeks of NFL action in the books, players placed on injured reserve prior to Week 1’s games are now eligible to return to the active roster and possibly game day action.
For the Patriots, that’s a four-man list that includes wide receiver Gunner Olszewski, running back Damien Harris, defensive lineman Beau Allen and offensive lineman Yodny Cajuste. All could potentially add depth to areas of need for New England even at this early point in the season.
During his Wednesday morning video call with local reporters Patriots head coach Bill Belichick was asked if he anticipated getting any of those players back this week. Not surprisingly, the tight-lipped coach answered in non-committal generalities.
“We’ll see how it goes,” Belichick said. “I mean, the first step would be to practice a player that’s on injured reserve and then whether he would be active or not would depend on what happened during the course of the week. Sometimes, those guys, they’re not ready to play as soon as they start practicing. They need another week or two. So, if we do that, it would just be based on that player’s individual situation and how we can evaluate the guy during the time that we have to look at him, whether that’s a week, two weeks, three weeks, whatever it is. So, the first step would be to start him at practice and that starts the clock running on the activation process and then it becomes an evaluation process as we take it day by day.”
Unlike past years, for 2020 teams are allowed to bring back an unlimited number of players from IR once they’ve missed at least three weeks of action.