As the Patriots prepare to host the Washington Redskins at Gillette Stadium this Sunday, they may have a familiar face on the field. Defensive end Richard Seymour began practicing with the rest of the team on Wednesday for the first time this season. It's possible Seymour could be promoted to the active roster this weekend.
Seymour has been on the physically-unable-to-perform (PUP) list due to a knee injury that has bothered him through the offseason. While he was at training camp, Seymour missed significant time rehabbing his injury. PUP players were eligible to return to practice last week, but Seymour needed more time apparently. Although he was seen around the facilities, the PUP rule prohibits players on the list from taking part in practice. Players can still attend meeting, workouts and walk through sessions.
During Wednesday's practice players were in full pads. Seymour did suit up in pads, but only from the waist up. He opted to stay in sweatpants rather than full pads.
When asked about Seymour's availability to the team, head coach Bill Belichick said "I don't know. We haven't seen him on the field yet. Once we see him and see where he's at, we'll get an idea on that." In classic Belichick noncommittal style, he continued. " But until a player gets out there and starts practicing, it's hard to picture exactly what it looks like because he hasn't been out there. A lot of guys have a lot more reps than the guys on PUP have."
Having Seymour back would be a big boost for the Patriots defense. Giving up over 6 yards per carry on the ground, the Patriots miss Seymour's production against the run.
"To add a guy who has been a tremendous mainstay on our defensive line, a guy that's very big, physical, strong, can do it all -- rush the passer, stop the run -- just his presence along with his leadership will be tremendous for us," safety Rodney Harrison said. "Of course, I feel like he'll give us a spark just like when we get any of our guys back."
Last week, wide receiver Chad Jackson (knee) and cornerback Eddie Jackson (knee) began to practice. Wide receiver Troy Brown (knee) is the only player left on the PUP list who isn't participating. Players on the PUP list have up to three weeks to begin practicing from the end of Week 6 of the season. Players can then practice for up to three weeks with rest of the team before the front office has to decide on their roster spot. At that point, the team can either place the player on the Reserve/injured list (ending their season), or activate them from the PUP list. The 53-man roster exemption is lifted when a player is activated.