New England Patriots: Malcolm Mitchell hints at return from IR

FOXBORO, MA - DECEMBER 12: Malcolm Mitchell
FOXBORO, MA - DECEMBER 12: Malcolm Mitchell /

Will New England Patriots wide receiver Malcolm Mitchell return from injured reserve?

New England Patriots wide receiver Malcolm Mitchell could be returning from injured reserve (IR) soon.

Following New England’s 33-8 win over the Oakland Raiders, Mitchell shared a post on his Instagram, captioned: “I’m missing that feeling. I’m working. I’m coming.”

Mitchell was limited during training camp with a knee injury and only played in one of the Patriots’ preseason games. He was placed on IR on September 7, prior to New England’s Week 1 bout with the Kansas City Chiefs.

According to ESPN’s Mike Reiss, Mitchell is “getting better, for sure” and will undergo an evaluation of his progress this week.

New England could activate the second-year wideout using their remaining IR expected to return designation. The Patriots used the first of their two designations to take linebacker Shea McClellin off IR, however, he suffered a setback in his return and was ruled out for the season. 

Knee injuries have sidelined Mitchell since his days at the University of Georgia. He suffered a torn ACL during the Bulldogs’ season opener in 2013. Less than a year later, Mitchell underwent surgery to repair cartilage in his knee.

The Patriots drafted Mitchell in the fourth round of the 2016 NFL Draft. He staged a productive rookie campaign, hauling in 32 receptions for 401 yards and four touchdowns. Mitchell had an additional seven grabs for 75 yards during the postseason, including six catches for 70 yards in Super Bowl LI.

As of Week 11, New England boasts the league’s best receiving attack, averaging 318.3 receiving yards per game. The addition of Mitchell to the Patriots’ wide receiver group would add depth and injury insurance as the postseason nears.

Next: Patriots player grades from Week 11 vs. Raiders

If Mitchell is activated to the Patriots’ 53-man roster, he’ll likely split snaps with Danny Amendola and Phillip Dorsett as the team’s third or fourth wide receiver. If not, he’ll have the entire offseason to return to full health.