Donning his new jersey number, which hearkens back to his college days at Arizona State, Harry seems eager to get back on the field. Harry was having a strong training camp and a so-so preseason run before he injured his shoulder and landed on injured reserve.
The earliest Harry can return to the Patriots is Week 4, so he is guaranteed to miss Sunday’s game against the New York Jets and the following game against the New Orleans Saints.
The Week 4 matchup is arguably the biggest regular-season game of the year as Tom Brady will return to Gillette Stadium for the first time since bolting New England in free agency to join the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
If Harry could make an impact in that game, it would go a long way toward endearing him to Patriots fans who don’t have a lot of faith in his ability to make plays.
What Happened to N’Keal Harry’s Trade Request?
Harry was asked about his previous trade request, but the third-year pro seemed to downplay it last month. He was asked about it during a media presser and Harry said:
Right now, I’m really not worried about anything trade-wise. I’m focused on how to be the best version of myself on the field, going out there, working hard and improving every day. Everything has been very normal. Like I said, I’ve just been focused on helping this team win and doing whatever I can to become the best version of myself.
Considering Harry is still injured and he didn’t get an opportunity to show anything in preseason games, the Patriots may want to give him a go during the regular season, if for no other reason than to raise his trade value.
The Patriots Still Seem to Believe in N’Keal Harry
Bill Belichick still seemed optimistic about Harry’s potential impact last month. During a media presser on August 31, Belichick said:
I think N’Keal had a good (training) camp,” Belichick told reporters in a press conference Tuesday. “Glad we have him. Think he’ll make a big contribution to our team. We’ll see how it all goes from a time standpoint of when he’ll be able to get back on the field, but I know he’s working hard and making progress with his rehab. So, we’ll keep monitoring that and see how it goes. I never talked to his agent, all right? So, you’d have to talk to his agent; whatever he did or didn’t say, I don’t even know. I’m a coach, N’Keal’s a player. I think we have a good player-coach relationship. We’ve talked. So, whatever somebody else said or did, you should talk to them about that.
Belichick is at least outwardly ignoring Harry’s trade request. He can do that because he is the one in control. Harry didn’t hold out because he has no leverage as an underperforming player.
Still, the Patriots must see some way for the former first-round pick to positively impact the offense. If they didn’t, they might have obliged his trade request.
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