Patriots News: Demaryius Thomas Returns to Practice After Achilles Injury Rehab

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistAugust 20, 2019

New England Patriots wide receiver Demaryius Thomas, center, warms up with teammates during an NFL football training camp practice, Thursday, July 25, 2019, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)
Steven Senne/Associated Press

New England Patriots wide receiver Demaryius Thomas appeared at practice Tuesday after starting the summer on the physically unable to perform list.

Patriots on NBCSB @NBCSPatriots

Spotted on the practice field: Demaryius Thomas 👀 https://t.co/S6NEZb3GYn

Michael Giardi @MikeGiardi

So Julian Edelman off NFI yesterday and it appears Demaryius Thomas off PUP today. Wide receiver drills got more crowded.

Phil Perry @PhilAPerry

Looks like Demaryius Thomas has been removed from PUP. He’s at practice, in uniform, shells on.

Thomas was recovering from a ruptured Achilles suffered in the 2018 season.

The Patriots have a pretty full receivers room. Along with Thomas' return, Julian Edelman was taken off the non-football injury list Monday after recovering from a broken thumb. Additionally, Josh Gordon was reinstated by the NFL last week.

The team's receiving corps of Thomas, Edelman, Gordon, Phillip Dorsett II and rookie N'Keal Harry looks solid for veteran quarterback Tom Brady.

Granted, Brady still needs to build chemistry with Thomas and Harry. And the loss of Rob Gronkowski to retirement can't be overstated. But what was a position of weakness looks like it could become a strength for the Patriots by the time the season begins.

Thomas, 31, likely will be a third or fourth option. He had a solid if unspectacular season in 2018, catching 59 passes for 677 yards and five touchdowns with the Denver Broncos and Houston Texans. After five straight years with at least 90 receptions and 1,000 receiving yards from 2012 to 2016, last season marked his second straight year of failing to hit either mark.

While Thomas is no longer a Pro Bowl-caliber player, he's a solid target for Brady. Thomas' size (6'3", 225 lbs) and ability to make plays down the field are pluses. So is his durability, as he's missed just 12 games in his nine-year career and just one in the past seven seasons.