FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- One of the nice parts about having access to organized team activities is that it can provide added context on the health status of players.
The Patriots had claimed Gaffney on waivers from the Panthers last July after he sustained a season-ending knee injury in a training camp practice. Gaffney underwent surgery to repair the torn lateral meniscus in his left knee and impressed Patriots coaches with his work ethic during his rehabilitation throughout the year.
It now appears that Gaffney is close to 100 percent again, as evidenced by his presence on the practice field during this week's OTAs (via this photo from Patriots.com, as well as this photo from Patriots.com).
The 6-foot-0, 220-pound Gaffney, who was drafted by the Panthers in the sixth round last year, will vie for top "big-back" duties with New England. LeGarrette Blount and Jonas Gray are also part of that competition, with Blount's season-opening suspension part of the early-year analysis at the position. Upon claiming Gaffney last July, Bill Belichick had referred to him as an "all-around back."
While the running game is challenging to assess in a non-pads OTA setting, Gaffney will be a player we'll be keeping an eye on during Friday's media access to get a better feel for what he might bring to the team.