Patriots

Demaryius Thomas injury timeline: Could WR return sooner than expected?

Demaryius Thomas injury timeline: Could WR return sooner than expected?

The Demaryius Thomas the New England Patriots signed Tuesday isn't the same guy who posted five consecutive 1,000-yard seasons.

He turned 31 on December 25, a day after being placed on the Houston Texans' injured reserve with a torn Achilles. There's a chance he won't even begin the 2019 season on the Patriots' active roster.

As NFL Network's James Palmer reported Tuesday, though, there appears to be optimism in New England about Thomas' recovery timeline.

As Palmer points out, Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels was Thomas' head coach in Denver when the wide receiver first tore his Achilles in February 2011. Many expected Thomas to miss most of the 2011 season, but he returned ahead of schedule in late October and played in 11 games that season.

Thomas is eight years older this time around, so a similar eight-month recovery seems aggressive. But if the wide receiver is able to return in, say, nine or 10 months, he could be ready around the start of the 2019 season and possibly even join the Patriots for their season opener.

But New England also could opt to play it safe with Thomas, placing him on the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list to start the season and viewing him more as a mid-season acquisition -- à la Josh Gordon in 2018 -- to bolster a Julian Edelman-led receiving corps.

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Devin McCourty avoids fine after personal foul penalty for hit against Dolphins

Devin McCourty avoids fine after personal foul penalty for hit against Dolphins

Saturday is the day the NFL usually passes out fines for hits from the previous Sunday. Steelers linebacker Bud Dupree, for example, was hit with a $21,056 bill for his helmet-to-helmet shot to Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson, though he wasn't penalized on the play. 

Devin McCourty, however, can rest easy. As can his daughter London, 2, and son Brayden 1.

He wasn't fined for his hit on Dolphins receiver Allen Hurns, though he did draw a personal foul flag for lowering the head to initiate contact. 

Initially, the veteran Patriots safety wasn't happy with the call, but then said he told the officials "it was actually a pretty good call once I saw the replay."

McCourty expressed concern a fine might be coming last Sunday in his postgame press conference. "Hopefully the NFL doesn’t fine me. I don’t think it was fine-worthy. I’ve got too many kids for that,” he said with a smile.

McCourty has only drawn one fine in his career. In December 2010, he was fined $10,000 after a hit on a defenseless receiver, Packers tight end Andrew Quarless, drew an unnecessary roughness penalty.  

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Patriots promote FB Jakob Johnson off practice squad to replace injured James Develin vs Jets

Patriots promote FB Jakob Johnson off practice squad to replace injured James Develin vs Jets

The Patriots promoted fullback Jakob Johnson off their practice squad Saturday to replace the injured James Develin in Week 3 against the Jets. 

Develin missed all three of the Patriots' practices this week with a neck injury and was listed out on Friday. 

Johnson, an undrafted rookie out of the University of Tennessee and former German Football league player, will dress for his first game in the NFL. 

Johnson was originally recruited as a linebacker out of high school, but he made the transition to tight end while with the Volunteers. The Patriots turned him into a fullback, so the 24-year-old has shown a fair share of versatility over the course of his career. 

The Patriots usually find creative ways to utilize Develin in the passing game while sometimes giving him opportunities to punch in touchdowns on the goal line. There's a small chance Johnson gets that chance on Sunday, but who knows since the game will most likely be over by halftime. 

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