FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- New England Patriots wide receiver Malcolm Mitchell was not spotted at practice on Wednesday, which was the final day the team had to decide whether to move him from injured reserve to the 53-man roster. Later in the day, head coach Bill Belichick confirmed that Mitchell won't be activated off IR.
Mitchell, a 2016 fourth-round pick out of Georgia, turned in a clutch performance in the second half of the Super Bowl, playing a significant role in the team's remarkable comeback with five receptions for 63 yards.
But he had been placed on IR at the start of the 2017 season (knee), with the team having him practice for the first time in late December as its second designated-to-return IR player.
The Patriots have strong numbers on the receiver depth chart, with Brandin Cooks, Chris Hogan, Danny Amendola, Phillip Dorsett and Kenny Britt, with special teams captain Matthew Slater also an option in a pinch. So the idea that Mitchell was going to return in the playoffs was a longshot, as Belichick had noted his long road back and considerable ground to make up.
Mitchell's absence was one of the most notable parts of the media-access portion of practice, along with the return of receiver/punt returner Bernard Reedy. An official transaction with Reedy is expected by the end of the day, and it might involve No. 4 cornerback/core special teamer Jonathan Jones, who appeared to sustain a significant injury in Saturday's win and wasn't at practice.
Meanwhile, offensive tackle LaAdrian Waddle, who started at right tackle on Saturday, only rode the stationary bike in the time that reporters were present at practice.