Patriots

Patriots activate RB Rex Burkhead to 53-man roster, release Matt Tobin

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Reinhold Matay/USA TODAY Sports Images

Patriots activate RB Rex Burkhead to 53-man roster, release Matt Tobin

The New England Patriots are getting healthier on offense, and that continued Monday when they activated running back Rex Burkhead to the 53-man roster.

The team officially announced the activation of Burkhead, along with the release of offensive lineman Matt Tobin to make room for the veteran running back on the roster.

Burkhead suffered a neck injury in September and hasn't played since the Patriots' loss to the Detroit Lions in Week 3. He has 86 rushing yards on 24 carries, in addition to three receptions for 31 receiving yards through three games this season. Burkhead will be eligible to play Sunday when the Pats host the Minnesota Vikings at Gillette Stadium.

Burkhead back joins rookie Sony Michel, James White and Kenjon Barner on the depth chart. Michel ran for a career-high 133 yards and a touchdown in New England's 27-13 win over the New York Jets on Sunday.

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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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