According to reports, the Patriots have once again re-signed veteran wide receiver Austin Collie, who has been spotted at practice today.
This comes on the heels of Collie being release for the second time this year this past Friday after he was first brought aboard in November. After making a couple of key grabs in the Patriots game-winning Week 6 drive vs. the Saints, Collie has not been a factor on offense. In the last three games, he has not seen the field much, playing in 15 snaps against Cleveland, 22 at Miami, and 1 last week in Baltimore.
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Collie's return may not be an encouraging sign regarding the likelihood of Aaron Dobson and Josh Boyce returning for the divisional round playoff game next weekend. Dobson re-aggravated a stress fracture in his foot last week against Buffalo, and Boyce has not practiced since injuring his ankle in Week 15 at Miami.
Collie received strong praise from coaches and players after his performance against the Saints in Week 6, particularly for his ability to pick up on the Patriots system and become a reliable player in a very short period of time.This intelligence and ability to acclimate himself quickly is likely what has made him a player the team can afford to let go and bring back in based on injuries to players higher on the depth chart.
Should Boyce and/or Dobson (who both missed practice again today) miss the team's first playoff game, look for Collie to see increased snaps and be a potential target for Tom Brady in a pass game depleted by injuries.
While Collie rejoined the team at practice today, Logan Mankins (knee) and Alfonzo Dennard (knee, shoulder) were once again absent, joining Dobson and Boyce on the list of players yet to practice this week.