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Patriots activate Dion Lewis to 53-man roster; Make practice squad transactions

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – The New England Patriots announced today that they have activated RB Dion Lewis to the 53-man roster. In addition, the Patriots signed TE Kennard Backman and RB Tyler Gaffney to the practice squad and released TE Austin Traylor from the practice squad. 

Lewis, 26, was activated from the reserve/physically unable to perform list after being placed on the list on Aug. 30. Last season, he played in seven games with six starts and before suffering a knee injury and was placed on injured reserve on Nov. 9. Lewis finished the season with 49 rushing attempts for 234 yards (4.8-yard average) and two touchdowns and also caught 36 passes for 388 yards and two touchdowns.

Backman, 23, was originally drafted by the Green Bay Packers in the sixth round (213th overall) of the 2015 NFL Draft. Last season, he played in seven games as a reserve and did not accrue any statistics. Backman began the year with the Packers and was released prior to the start of the regular season.

Gaffney, 25, was released by the Patriots from the 53-man roster on Thursday. The 6-foot, 220-pounder, originally entered the NFL as a sixth-round draft pick (204th overall) by the Carolina Panthers out of Stanford in the 2014 NFL Draft. He suffered an injury in his first NFL training camp while with Carolina and spent the season on injured reserve after being claimed off waivers by the Patriots on July 28, 2014. Gaffney was injured in training camp last year and spent the entire 2015 season on injured reserve. He was released by the Patriots on the final cut-down on Sept. 3, 2016 and signed to the practice squad on Oct. 17, 2016, then added to the 53-man roster on Oct. 29.  Gaffney was inactive for the Buffalo game on Oct. 30.

Traylor, 23, was added to the New England Practice squad on Nov. 1, 2016. He originally entered the NFL as a rookie free agent with the Dallas Cowboys on May 17, 2016 out of Wisconsin. The 6-foot-3, 255-pounder, was released by Dallas at the end of training camp and spent time on the practice squads of both Dallas and San Diego in 2016. He was released from San Diego's practice squad on Oct. 4, 2016. 

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