N’Keal Harry Injury Update: Why WR Will Miss Start of the Season

Getty N'Keal Harry

The New England Patriots didn’t include N’Keal Harry on the 53-man roster, but it appears they will be holding on to the 2019 first-round pick–at least for now.

Per the NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo, Harry was placed on injured reserve while his injured shoulder continues to heal.

Players placed on IR must miss at least 3 games, and it is hopeful, that is all Harry will miss on this stint. Harry is now guaranteed to fail to play in all 16 games of an NFL season in each of the three years he’s been in the NFL.

As a rookie, Harry played in just 7 contests, starting 5 games. Last season, he was more available playing in 14 of the 16 contests and starting 9 times.

While he was on the field more in 2020, Harry still struggled to distinguish himself. He had just 33 receptions for 309 yards and 2 TDs. That is a far cry from what was expected of him when the Patriots took him in the first round in 2019.

Frustrated with a lack of opportunity, from his perspective, Harry asked to be traded. The offseason was important for him, and he seemed to respond during training camp.

Harry was arguably the team’s best receiver in camp and hopes were high for him before he was injured in the second game of the preseason against the Philadelphia Eagles.


Why Did the Patriots Hold on to Harry?

I think we’ve all learned you can’t listen to what Bill Belichick says during meetings with the media and think you have a clue of what he’s thinking.

That said, he did sound pleased with Harry’s work in the offseason and performance in camp.

Per Nicole Yang of The Boston Globe, Belichick said:

I think N’Keal had a good camp. Last year was a lot different for all of us, so it’s hard to compare last year to anything. Really just looking at this year, I thought N’Keal had a good camp, and I’m glad we have him. I think he’ll make a big contribution to our team.

There was no indication or reference to Harry’s trade request, is that something that will simply fade away?


Where Do the Patriots Stand With Harry’s Trade Request?

During a meeting with the media on Tuesday, Belichick was asked about Harry’s trade request and if he’d spoken with the wide receiver’s agent. Belichick said

 Whatever conversations are between agents, players, myself, like those are all private conversations. I never talked to [Harry’s] agent. All right. You’d have to ask 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 or whatever, you should talk to them about that.

As for now, Harry is still a Patriot, but that could change once he is eligible to return from IR, or he could fit into a valuable role as a receiver for Mac Jones.

This is New England and the NFL, so you never can tell.

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