Patriots Running Back to Miss Time

The New England Patriots are flying high after Week 5's 29-0 dismantling of the Detroit Lions, but it wasn't all good news. Running back Damien Harris exited early in the game with a hamstring injury, and according to NFL Network's Tom Pelissero, the fourth-year player is expected to miss multiple games. Harris went down after four carries and six offensive snaps in the decisive win. He had been off to a strong start this regular season, averaging 4.5 yards per attempt on his 257 rushing yards, but his injury could cost him his top spot in the Patriots' pecking order. Second-year back Rhamondre Stevenson has been sensational in his opportunities, compiling 372 rushing yards at an excellent 5.5 yards per attempt.

In Harris' absence, Stevenson exploded for 161 yards on 25 rushes against the Lions. If he can string together a few more similar performances, he could grab a stranglehold of starting duties in the Patriots' backfield. It couldn't come at a worse time for Harris: he's set to hit unrestricted free agency at the end of this season.
Harris joined the Patriots as their 87th overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft after a successful four-year run at Alabama. After an uneventful first season, he emerged as the Patriots' top back in 2020, tallying 1877 rushing yards and 20 rushing touchdowns over his last 30 starts. Even if he's relegated to a backup role upon his return, he's proven too valuable to be totally neglected. His 4.7 career yards per attempt average is simply too strong to be ignored.
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