New England Patriots running back Damien Harris out vs. Cleveland Browns, backup Rhamondre Stevenson questionable

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- New England Patriots top running back Damien Harris has been ruled out for Sunday's home game against the Cleveland Browns due to a concussion, the team announced Saturday.

Harris' potential replacement, rookie Rhamondre Stevenson, remains questionable due to a concussion, although he is expected to play, a source told ESPN's Adam Schefter.

That the Patriots ruled out Harris, but not Stevenson, reflects how the team still has a level of optimism that Stevenson might clear concussion protocol in time for the game (1 p.m. ET, CBS).

Both Harris and Stevenson sustained concussions in the fourth quarter of last Sunday's win over the Carolina Panthers. They didn't take part in practices Wednesday, Thursday or Friday this week.

On Friday, coach Bill Belichick said both were in the "day-to-day category" and that the team would "just have to play it by ear."

Harris has 133 carries for 547 yards (4.1 avg.) and seven touchdowns in the Patriots' 5-4 start -- all team highs. He also has 11 catches for 63 yards.

Stevenson, a fourth-round pick from Oklahoma, is next with 35 rushes for 136 yards (3.9 avg.) and one touchdown, while adding seven catches for 97 yards.

The only other running backs on the roster are veteran Brandon Bolden and second-year player J.J. Taylor.

In addition to Harris being ruled out Sunday against the Browns (5-4), the Patriots also downgraded top returner Gunner Olszewski to out because of a concussion. Receiver Jakobi Meyers is a top candidate to take over Olszewski's duties as a punt returner, while Bolden and veteran safety Devin McCourty are among the options to handle kickoffs.

The Patriots did activate offensive tackle Trent Brown to the 53-man roster from injured reserve, as he hasn't played since the opening week of the season. To make room for Brown, the team placed linebacker Jamie Collins on injured reserve, as he will now miss at least three games after hurting his ankle in last Sunday's win over the Carolina Panthers.

In addition, the team elevated tight end Matt LaCosse and outside linebacker Tashawn Bower from the practice squad for Sunday's game.

The Patriots also worked out free-agent running back Kenjon Barner, who played for them in 2018 and could be a candidate to fill an open spot on the practice squad.