Demaryius Thomas is back with the New England Patriots after being released over the weekend, and head coach Bill Belichick is hopeful the veteran wide receiver will make a meaningful impact this season.

The 31-year-old is coming off an Achilles tear suffered as a member of the Houston Texans in December. He was cleared to practice a few weeks ago and made his preseason debut last Thursday against the New York Giants. Thomas tallied seven receptions for 87 yards and two touchdowns with rookie backup Jarrett Stidham at quarterback in the preseason finale.

Belichick likes the improvement Thomas has made so far, and he revealed Tuesday on WEEI radio show "Ordway, Merloni and Fauria" that the Patriots feel like the talented wideout will make a real contribution in 2019.

Health will be a concern with Thomas given the serious nature of Achilles injuries, but before last season he had been among the most durable wide receivers in the league. He didn't miss a game between 2011 and 2017 before missing one matchup last season.

Thomas, if healthy, gives the Patriots another big, physical wideout at 6-foot-3 and 225 pounds. He and Josh Gordon could form a difficult tandem for opposing defenses to slow down if they are able to consistently stay on the field. The additions of Thomas, Gordon and undrafted rookie Jakobi Meyers to a receiving corps that already included Phillip Dorsett and reigning Super Bowl MVP Julian Edelman could make this position a real strength for New England.


The Patriots haven't had the best luck bringing in veteran wide receivers late in their careers -- Reggie Wayne and Chad Johnson come to mind. Thomas, however, has shown signs that he could be a solid pickup for a New England offense that lost some key pieces over the offseason.

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