New England Patriots: Mike Gillislee feels ‘100 percent’ and ready to go

CINCINNATI, OH - NOVEMBER 20: Mike Gillislee
CINCINNATI, OH - NOVEMBER 20: Mike Gillislee /

New England Patriots running back Mike Gillislee has been absent so far this preseason, but returned to the practice field on Tuesday.

The running back battle just got real.  After missing the first two preseason games due to a hamstring injury, Mike Gillislee returned to the practice field for the New England Patriots on Tuesday.

Gillislee, who was signed as a restricted free agent in the offseason, has seen limited time on the practice field since Aug. 2.  Due to the injury, he was listed further down on the running back depth chart behind Rex Burkhead, James White and Dion Lewis.  Now, he is back and ready to battle for that featured back spot.

So what triggered he injury that has had Gillislee basically sidelined the entire preseason?

"“I just tried to burst on one of those plays at the beginning of camp and it just happened,” Gillislee said, via WEEI.  “And I was able to get an MRI and everything was good, so I’m back today and felt 100 percent.”"

Gillislee’s return is a timely one.  Following the great preseason showing by Rex Burkhead and the steady play of Dion Lewis and Brandon Bolden, the former Buffalo Bills running back needs to show what he can give the team on the field.

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There are no guarantees in New England.  So if other players prove to be more valuable for the team, Gillislee could become expendable.  Now, it is highly unlikely due to the guaranteed money coming his way, but a Bill Belichick lead team has never shied away from moving on from players who aren’t contributing, even when an injury is involved.

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Lingering injury?

As we learned from Rob Gronkowski a year ago, a hamstring injury could linger.  Before the current injury occurred, Gillislee told reporters that he hurt the hamstring during the spring when he was still in Buffalo.

A concern?  Yes.  But as the talented running back points out, these types of injuries happen in football and is out of his control.

"“As far as injuries, that’s something that no football player in the world can control,” he said.  “It’s something that has been bothering me, but I’m good now.”"

Hopefully, it won’t be a continual issue going forward.  But, with Mike Gillislee’s running style, it is possible.  That’s why it is good the New England Patriots have the level of depth they have at a very competitive running back group.  A group, by the way, that he described as “special.”

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While Patriots nation awaits the opportunity to see Gillislee on the field, perhaps this Friday night, perhaps he could dial up Tom Brady’s health guru Alex Guerrero.

Rob Gronkowski and Dont’a Hightower are already on board.