FOXBOROUGH — Demaryius Thomas was back practicing in Patriots garb Monday morning after being re-signed to a one-year deal just two days after the veteran receiver was released.
Thomas’s return corresponds with the team placing rookie receiver N’Keal Harry on injured reserve. Harry tweaked his hamstring during a joint practice in Detroit, then suffered an ankle injury in the exhibition opener against the Lions.
Harry, New England’s top pick in April, is eligible to return to practice after six weeks but can’t play in a game until after he has been on IR for eight weeks. As a result, he can’t suit up for a game until the Patriots travel to Baltimore Nov. 3, in Week 9.
Harry missed the final three preseason games and has been limited in practice. He politely declined an interview request Sunday afternoon.
Thomas, 31, was a consistent presence at Patriots practice all summer but wasn’t activated off the physically-unable-to-perform list until the final week of preseason. He made his game debut against the Giants last week and collected seven passes on eight targets for 87 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
“He’s a veteran guy, he knows what it takes to be successful in this league. Now in Year 10. So, it’s been fun just to see him work,’’ said safety Devin McCourty. “[We were] drafted the same year, always played tough games when he was in Denver against him, so he’s just kind of come in and not worried about what he’s done in the past and just worked and it’s kind of paid off.’’
As a vested veteran, Thomas was not subjected to waivers and could sign with any team, though there was always a strong feeling he’d be back with the Patriots as soon as a slot opened. Terms of his deal are undisclosed, but his original contract with the New England was for one-year and $3 million.
Thomas said after the Giants game he was excited to be a part of the Patriots offense and that after watching them all summer he knows it has “a lot of potential.”
McCourty said it’s been “fun” covering Thomas.
“He’s a good receiver, obviously he’s made a ton of plays throughout his career,’’ McCourty said. “That’s why we’re out here, to compete against each other, make each other better, and it always helps having really good players on the opposite side.’’
Reminded that he’s had some memorable battles with Thomas in the past, McCourty chuckled.
“I don’t remember. I played a lot of snaps,’’ he said. “Why do you want to make us rivals? We’re teammates.’’
Surviving other cut
Rookie Chase Winovich survived cutdown day. As for his flowing locks? They did, too, for the most part.
While Winovich watched Thursday night’s game from the sideline, Tom Brady pulled a sneak attack, snipping a lock of hair off his fellow maize and blue alum. Brady even bragged about it on social media.
“You know, I think a lot of people would pay a lot of money to have Tom as [their] barber,’’ Winovich said Monday. “Luckily, I have that option for free. People saw online a little snippet of that – literally a snippet. That was cool.’’
Rookies have been subjected to impromptu veteran haircuts in the past but, so far, the Class of 2019 has been mostly spared.
Quarterback Jarrett Stidham is sporting a relatively fresh wiffle, but it’s unknown if that was his own doing.
With the preseason in the books, the Patriots have fully turned their attention to the Steelers and safety Patrick Chung knows Sunday night’s game will be a good measuring stick right out of the gates. “Yeah, 100 percent — they’re a good team, man,’’ he said. “We have to see where we are and how we are as a team. We’re going to find that out on Sunday.’’ . . . The Patriots had all eligible players on the field at their Labor Day workout that was held in shorts and shells . . . The Patriots continued to build their practice squad by signing guards Colby Gossett and Najee Toran and defensive end Gerri Green. Offensive lineman Tyree St. Louis was released from the practice squad. Gossett was a sixth-round pick of the Vikings in 2018 of out Appalachian State. He was plucked off Minnesota’s practice squad by the Cardinals and started four games last season, but was released Sunday. Toran joined the 49ers as an undrafted rookie last season from UCLA and spent the bulk of the season on the practice squad. He was released Saturday. Green was drafted by the Colts in April at No. 199 (same as a certain Patriots quarterback) out of Mississippi State, where he had 161 tackles in 52 games. He was released Saturday. New England has one practice squad spot open.