Lewis is on the loose again.
For the first time since the end of spring practices, running back Dion Lewis took part in a Patriots practice. Ever since, the veteran has been toiling behind the scenes on the physically unable to perform list (PUP), but his appearance in Thursday's full-pads session means he is potentially a step closer to being reintroduced to New England's active roster.
Lewis, you may recall, was enjoying a marvelous 2015 season when he suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in his left knee in an early-November game against Washington here at Gillette Stadium. He appeared to be making progress in his rehabilitation, as evidenced by his somewhat surprising participation in the spring, but then suffered a setback that required an additional recent surgery; hence, the need for him to start training camp and the regular season on PUP.
Now that Lewis is able to practice with the team, the Patriots have a three-week window, starting today, in which to decide whether to promote him to the active roster or send him to injured reserve. Lewis can be activated at any time during those three weeks, meaning he could be added as early as this week when the team travels to Buffalo or as late as the San Francisco game in late November, more than a year after incurring the injury.
With a bye week on New England's horizon after this week's game, a home debut for Lewis against the Seattle Seahawks in Week 10 is also a consideration.
Former Lion finds new pride
Kyle Van Noy thought he was doing just fine. In his third season with Detroit, he'd earned himself a full-time starting job as a Lions linebacker. Safe to say, then, that he wasn't expecting to be informed that his employers traded him to New England this week.
"I was shocked to go from starting there to traded," the 26-year-old acknowledged Thursday, his first Q&A session with reporters in Foxborough. "I was shocked. I respect everybody with the Detroit Lions, they'll all be my guys there. Just grateful for the opportunity to come here and get it going."
When he thought about it, though, Van Noy conceded that it wasn't a total surprise that New England was where he was dealt. For one thing, Detroit's first-year general manager, Bob Quinn, is a long-time Patriots personnel professional. What's more, Van Noy admitted that he had considerable contact with the Patriots during his pre-draft period in 2014 before Detroit selected him.
After an injury-plagued rookie season and a reserve role last year, the 6-3, 345-pound Van Noy, a Nevada native, was asked by the Lions to lose weight (15 pounds) entering this season, which he did. However, he seemed to feel underutilized in Detroit.
"I mean, they didn't know where to put me," Van Noy added. "Here, they want me here, and I'm happy to be wanted. I'm going to do whatever they have me [do], and whatever they want my weight to be at… because I want to win and be part of this team."
Rob Gronkowski is just one touchdown away from setting a new Patriots record. His next one, in any form, would give him 69 total in his career, which would be the most ever by any player in team history.
Coincidentally, Gronk usually has productive days when his Patriots visit his hometown Buffalo Bills. So, there's a good chance you'll see him spiking a football or two on Sunday afternoon.
"That's the last thing I'm thinking about right now," he insisted. "We've got a big game here. We've got the Buffalo Bills, going into Buffalo. The crowd is going to be super loud. They're always into it, lot of energy. That's the last thing I'm thinking about. When it happens, if it happens, there's another time to talk about it, but as of right now I'm just focused on the Bills. That's the last thing I want to talk about."
Rookie DL Vincent Valentine has been dealing with a back injury of late. It has kept him out of the past three contests, but Valentine has been able to practice in the interim. That wasn't the case Thursday, however. He was the lone Patriot not spotted on the practice field at the start of today's workout. It's possible that he came out to practice after the media viewing period ended. Meanwhile, there's still no sign of Sebastian Vollmer. The starting right tackle has been on PUP all season.