FOXBORO — Mohamed Sanu sounded as though he was talking about someone who might take the field soon. But hard to be sure. He was talking about fellow Patriots receiver N'Keal Harry, who has yet to play in a regular-season game.
"He’s a special kid," Sanu said Thursday. "He (should) just go and be himself and let his abilities take over. Don’t think too much. Have fun. He’ll be good."
Is that "he'll be good" as in "he'll be good" on Sunday? Or "he'll be good" eventually? Or "he'll be good" as a practice player the rest of the way?
Harry was left off the game-day roster in Week 9 as the Patriots took on the Ravens — his first opportunity to play in a game since hitting injured reserve at the start of the season — and now the question is whether or not he'll be ready to make his debut against the Eagles on Sunday afternoon.
In his first meeting with reporters since hitting IR, he was asked how it feels to be ready to get back on the field.
"It feels great getting out there with my team," Harry said. "Just getting better every day with them, just looking for my role and they way to help the team."
Harry was taken with the No. 32 overall selection in the spring out of Arizona State and looked like a fit as a contested-catch weapon — someone who could bail out Tom Brady in tight spots — for a Patriots offense that was going to be without one of the best contested-catch pass-catchers of the last decade in Rob Gronkowski.
And Harry's start with the team this summer was promising. He had one practice with several drops, but otherwise seemed to make an impressive reception just about every day. He was injured in a practice against the Lions and then played in the preseason opener later that week. He made two catches — both on the outside, both against physical coverage — before getting hurt on the second.
He left the game and was not a participant in Patriots practices for the remainder of training camp. His next practice was after sitting out the required six-week period for players designated by their teams to return off of IR.
"It's been great," Harry said, "just going out there with the mentality to get better every day. Just going out there, trying to do my best to get better and get better at something every day. It's been good."
Harry didn't dispute the fact that he might've tried to play through something in Detroit to get on the field for the first exhibition game of the season against the Lions. He said he had no regrets about how the early portion of his rookie season played out, though.
"No, I don’t have any regrets," Harry said. "I don’t need to show anything. Me going out there and playing hard, playing through stuff, that’s just the type of mentality I have and that’s the type of mindset I grew up having. It wasn’t me trying to show anything, show toughness, it was just me."
He's had an opportunity now to be him -- someone described by Tom Brady as "tenacious" and as having an "edge" -- at practice for about a month.
Whether or not the rest of the world should expect to see him be him during a game this weekend remains to be seen.
Looking for the best unfiltered Patriots conversation each week and throughout the offseason? Listen and Subscribe to Tom E. Curran's Patriots Talk Podcast!