Patriots Running Back Misses Third Straight Practice

The New England Patriots could be without one of the crucial cogs in their run game when they face the Indianapolis Colts in Week 9. Running back Damien Harris missed his third practice of the week and appears in danger of missing Sunday's game. Harris has been unavailable this week due to an illness. He has been the Patriots' primary starter at running back through eight weeks, though his absence may allow second-year back Rhamondre Stevenson to seize an even larger role. Despite only earning two starts to Harris's six, Stevenson has topped Harris in rushing yards, receiving yards, yards per rush, yards per target, and touchdowns through eight games.

Harris has been an effective and borderline excellent back for the Patriots when healthy, averaging 4.7 yards per rush for his career. However, Stevenson's ascension will likely keep Harris from attaining star status at an inopportune time. Harris is poised to hit free agency following the 2022 regular season.

Harris joined the Patriots as their 87th overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft after four years with the Alabama Crimson Tide. He emerged as a key contributor in 2020 and has amassed 1922 rushing yards and 20 touchdowns over his last 32 appearances. Should he be unavailable this week, he'll be spared a tough game against a Colts defense that has allowed the third-fewest yards per rushing attempt in the league.
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