After spending training camp and the first eight weeks of the season on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list with an injured right foot, running back Patrick Pass is finally healthy enough to return to the field.
On Monday of this week coach Bill Belichick explained that Pass would return to practice. Pass began practicing on Tuesday, the NFL's deadline for PUP players to either return to practice or be placed on injured reserve. The Patriots now have until 4pm on Nov. 29 to make a roster move with Pass, who has played in 75 games for the team over the last six seasons. Since he's played in too many games to return to the practice squad, the Pats must either put Pass on the active roster, place him on injured reserve, or release him. His addition to the active roster would mean removing someone else, and placing him on injured reserve would make him ineligible to return to the field this season. Also, any of those moves can be made between now and the aforementioned deadline, 21 days from his return to the practice field. Until a roster move is made, he is technically still on the PUP list.
On Thursday, Pass spoke to members of the media about his return to action, saying he felt good in practice.
"I feel like I'm part of the team again. It's always a great feeling," said Pass. "The reason why I say that is because it's tough, you know, being at home and watching your team go out and play these games. You want to be a part of the game, winning and losing. Not being able to practice with them and not going through the heartaches and pains on the field – it just makes you feel bad about [being injured]."
Asked what kind of roles he thought he'd be able to fill if he were placed on the active roster in the coming weeks, Pass replied, "I'd say pretty much the same. On special teams and if they need me on offense at running back, fullback. Put me in there."
Pass has been a high quality multi-purpose football player and top-notch athlete since high school. At the age of 18 he was drafted by the Florida Marlins in 1996 to play baseball. He also began college that Fall at the University of Georgia, where he was a four-year letterman in football, performing as a running back, pass catcher, punt returner, kickoff returner and even completed three-of-five pass attempts.
"I have faith in the training staff," said Pass, who's had a nagging toe injury he had surgery this offseason. "They did a heck of a job getting me ready, getting my injury healed. So I think I'm ready.
This is the most time I've had [off the field] since I've been playing sports," added Pass, who'll be 29 at the end of December.
So what did he do with all that free time?
He got six tattoos on his arms in a two-week span, though he didn't have any before that time.
"It's something I've always wanted to do," said Pass, showing off the new ink. "But I never really had time. While they were playing, I was watching the game at the tattoo parlor."
The tattoos are mostly reminders of his hometown of Scottdale, Georgia, though he also had the Atlanta Braves symbol and the serenity prayer put on his upper arms.
"I've always been a big Braves fan," said Pass. "[The serenity prayer] has been on my fridge for the last seven years and I read it every night." He got that tattoo over the bye-week break.
Hopefully Pass, who's been a big special teams contributor and solid blocker in the past can get back to tattooing opposing players soon.
The Patriots held practice outdoors today wearing shorts/sweats, helmets and shells. The only players not seen on the field were rookie Garrett Mills, who's listed as questionable with a thigh injury and Rodney Harrison, who's listed as out with a shoulder injury. The Patriots also released their Thursday injury report, which includes nine players listed as questionable in addition to Harrison (out) and Tom Brady (probable).