Big splashes have happened elsewhere in NFL free agency; in New England it's been little ripples.On Thursday, the Patriots announced the re-signing of special teams ace Matthew Slater and the acquisition of former Bears defensive tackle Marcus Harrison. The 26-year-old Slater was a Pro Bowler in 2011 and has worked at safety and wide receiver in a pinch. He had a team-leading 17 special teams tackles in 2011. Harrison was taken in the third round out of Arkansas in 2008. He's 27. He spent a day with the Patriots last Octiver after being released by the Bears coming out of 2011 training camp. .AOLWebSuite .AOLPicturesFullSizeLink height: 1px; width: 1px; overflow: hidden; .AOLWebSuite a color:blue; text-decoration: underline; cursor: pointer .AOLWebSuite a.hsSig cursor: default
FOXBORO -- The Patriots will have a familiar face back on the practice field, it appears.
According to NFL Media's Ian Rapoport, running back Dion Lewis is expected to begin practicing this week. Lewis has been on the physically unable to perform list since the start of the regular season.
Lewis tore his ACL in a Week 9 win over the Redskins last season, landing him on season-ending injured reserve. He was able to participate on a limited basis during OTAs but then experienced a setback that required surgery before the start of the season.
Once Lewis hits the practice field, the Patriots have a three-week window to place him on the active roster. The team currently has an open roster spot and could, in theory, activate him as early as this week.
When healthy last season, Lewis as a dynamic all-purpose back whose quickness allowed him to make defenders miss both in tight spaces between the tackles and in the open field as a receiver. The Patriots have used James White as their primary sub back in Lewis' absence, and he's on pace for a career year, with 27 receptions for 244 yards and three touchdowns.