Jeff Roberson/Associated Press
The New England Patriots missed running back Sony Michel, who was placed on injured reserve ahead of the team’s Week 4 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs as he works his way back from a quad injury. Even though NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported that the third-year star could bounce back “relatively quickly,” the Patriots will be forced to face the fact that one of their primary ball-handlers is sidelined for at least three weeks.
As Michel moved off the active roster, the Patriots activated running back Damien Harris from injured reserve, where he had been since he injured his hand before Week 1. In New England’s 26-10 loss, Harris led all rushers with 100 yards on 17 carries for an average of 5.9 yards per touch.
Monday was just Harris’ third NFL game. He had two appearances last season, his first after he was drafted out of Alabama in the third round (87th overall). He played five snaps on special teams in his professional debut before rushing for 12 yards on four attempts, playing five offensive snaps, four weeks later, per Pro Football Reference.
In college, Harris rushed for 23 touchdowns and 3,070 yards in four seasons.
New England’s backfield is crowded, with Rex Burkhead and James White also fighting for grabs in an offense that is learning to adjust to a strong rushing quarterback in new addition Cam Newton or to backups Brian Hoyer and Jarrett Stidham for however long Newton is on the reserve/COVID-19 list.
But with Michel out and New England’s other top running backs likely already claimed, Harris is a strong addition to any teams looking for an extra boost as more is revealed about the injuries to other backs across the league, including Austin Ekeler, Nick Chubb and LeSean McCoy.