FOXBORO -- Though it looks like the Patriots are preparing to activate Dion Lewis to their 53-man roster, it hasn't happened yet. Patriots coach Bill Belichick said on Friday morning that there has been no change to the running back's status.
"Hasn't been. We'll see how it goes as we get closer to the game," Belichick explained.
Lewis, on the physically unable to perform list since before the start of training camp, started practicing on Oct. 27. That opened a three-week window for the Patriots to activate him. They could wait until the days leading up to a Week 11 game with the 49ers to bring him onto the active roster if they wanted to maximize that window.
They may not want to wait that long, however, especially if Lewis looks strong in practice. Belichick said he's ben encouraged by the all-purpose back's progress.
"He's working hard," Belichick offered. "Dion's working hard. This is what he needs. [To] be around football. Rehabbing, running up hills and doing pushups and all that . . . that's great, but that's not playing football. He's got a lot of good football snaps over the last however many days it's been. It's good."
The decision to make Lewis eligible to play this weekend against the Seahawks could simply come down to how he performs in workouts with the Patriots. The team has one more practice this week on Friday, which is expected to be a relatively light session. On Tuesday and Thursday, the team practiced in full pads.
"I think you just have to go by what you see," Belichick said. "The fact that he's been cleared medically tells you that he's to a cetain point. Then it's a question of how it looks on the football field. Some of that's relevant to what you remember in the past, some of it's relative to what's out there that he's competing against."
Lewis was one of the most dynamic players in the league last season before tearing his ACL in Week 9 against the Redskins. Since then, in his place, James White has taken on the role of the sub back and performed effectively. He has reeled in 29 passes for 258 yards this season, picking up an average of 9.8 yards after the catch, per Pro Football Focus.
Asked if White would continue to have a role if and when Lewis returns, Belichick had nothing but praise for the third-year player out of Wisconsin.
"I think James White's good," he said. "He's a good player. What he does is good. Could somebody do it better? I don't know, but it would take quite a bit, I would say, based on where he is, how consistent he's been, what he's done. It would take somebody playing pretty good to be better than him."