Kirby Lee/USA Today Sports

Return of WR Malcolm Mitchell headlines busy day at Patriots practice

Ryan Hannable
December 27, 2017 - 1:23 pm

FOXBORO -- It was a busy news day at Wednesday's Patriots practice held in frigid conditions on the lower grass field behind Gillette Stadium.

First off, wide receiver Malcolm Mitchell practiced for the first time since Week 1, as he's been on injured reserve the entire season with a knee injury. The Patriots now have 21 days to activate him to the roster. If they do, it would seem the team would need to make a corresponding move involving a receiver. Mitchell could be of use as a possession receiver on the outside. He is the second of two players the Patriots are permitted to have return off of injured reserve.

Also in attendance was outside linebacker James Harrison, who the Patriots signed on Tuesday. He wore No. 92, as Geneo Grissom switched to No. 96.

The Patriots had four players missing: Tom Brady, Mike Gillislee, Rex Burkhead and Alan Branch. 

Burkhead and Branch didn't practice at all last week and missed the game, while it is unclear what happened to Gillislee. He didn't appear to get injured in Sunday's game against the Bills. For Brady, he has participated in every practice the last two weeks, but missed the Wednesday session in multiple weeks prior with an Achilles injury. This is something to look for when the injury report comes out later Wednesday.

The Patriots host the Jets in the regular-season finale Sunday afternoon at Gillette Stadium.

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