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Steelers will not face Patriots 2019 1st round draft pick in Week 1

New England placed WR N’Keal Harry on IR on Monday

NFL: AUG 29 Preseason - Giants at Patriots Photo by Fred Kfoury III/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

According to ESPN’s Adam Shafter, the Patriots first round draft pick from 2019 N’Keal Harry has been placed on the injured reserve list and is not eligible to return until later in the season.

The 32nd overall pick in the 2019 NFL draft, Harry played collegiately for three seasons at Arizona State University. In his three years for the Sun Devils, Harry averaged 13.6 yards per reception and caught 22 touchdowns. He also went over 1,000 yards receiving each year his final two seasons.

In his time with the Patriots, Harry only had two receptions for 36 yards during the preseason, all of which coming in Week 1 against the Detroit Lions.

The move to Injured Reserve after being on the initial roster in order for Harry to be eligible to return in 2019 is what led to the release of Demaryius Thomas on Saturday. It was believed at the time of his release that Thomas’ time with the Patriots was not at an end and he would be brought back once a roster move was made. The move was confirmed on Monday, as reported by ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

Any player placed on Injured Reserve (IR) once initially on the teams 53 man roster must wait eight weeks before being eligible to rejoin the 53-man roster. Starting in Week 6, players may begin team activities by way of the return designation and can return to the active roster for the Week 9 game. The NFL changed the IR return designation in 2017 so teams are allowed to bring two players back the second half of the season. From 2012 to 2017, the rule allowed just one player to return from IR. Additionally, teams no longer have to state which players are designated to return when placed on IR as they originally did before the 2017 season.

As for the rest of the position group, the Patriots wide receivers going into Week 1 are currently Matthew Slater (special teams), Julian Edelman, Demaryius Thomas, Josh Gordon, Jakobi Meyers, Phillip Dorsett, and Gunner Olszewski. It was believed Julian Edelman could be in danger of missing the game against the Steelers after possibly re-aggravating a previous thumb injury in the Patriots’ Week 4 preseason game. But according to ESPN Ian Rappaport, Edelman will be fine for Week 1.

Stay tuned to Behind The Steel Curtain for all Steelers news leading up to their Week 1 matchup against the New England Patriots on Sunday Night Football.