What N’Keal Harry had to say about his time with the Patriots

Dec 18, 2021; Indianapolis, Indiana, USA; New England Patriots wide receiver N’Keal Harry (1) before the game against the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Marc Lebryk-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 18, 2021; Indianapolis, Indiana, USA; New England Patriots wide receiver N’Keal Harry (1) before the game against the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Marc Lebryk-USA TODAY Sports /

In what has been deemed one of the better decisions by GM Bill Belichick as of late, the Patriots chose to trade away their former first-round receiver N’Keal Harry to the Chicago Bears in July. Now the two teams are set to square off on Monday Night Football and Harry is ready to finally make his debut with his new team after recovering from ankle surgery this preseason

The Patriots choosing Harry in the first round of the 2019 draft was scrutinized from the start. Although the team needed more talented pass-catchers, the consensus was there were far more desirable receivers left on the board when Harry was chosen. During his time in New England, there was not a game that went go by without seeing fans and media members mention that he was chosen over Deebo Samuel, A.J. Brown, and D.K. Metcalf, all of whom have become top receivers in the league.

As the more prominent of all the storylines heading into their matchup, Belichick was asked about his former draft selection and what he expects to see from Harry on Monday night.

"“Big talented kid. Things didn’t really work out here the way that I think all of us hoped for. Everybody tried. It just didn’t work out. So I’m sure he’ll be ready to go and I’m sure he’ll play hard.”"

It was clear the Patriots were insistent on working with Harry and giving him continuous chances to be successful with the team. When it was reported he had requested a trade prior to the 2021 season, Belichick made it known they had no intention of moving him. He even mentioned the two had a conversation about the situation and assured all their relationship was on good terms.

"“N’Keal and I have talked about it. We had a good conversation, have a good relationship. So I’m not going to get into all that. N’Keal is in good condition, is working hard, and just, again, keep taking it day by day and as the competition unfolds see how things stack up everywhere — not just with him but all the way across the board. It’s the same for everybody.”"

Fast forward through the 2021 season, Harry was still unable to make an impact in New England. With the additions of Nelson Agholor, Kendrick Bourne, and Hunter Henry, there was far more competition in the receiver room than he had dealt with previously, which in turn provided increasingly fewer opportunities for his offensive involvement.

After his most productive year catching passes from Cam Newton in 2020, Harry was unable to build upon that the following season, totaling just 12 receptions for 184 yards. With more receivers joining the team from the draft and free agent pickups, his trade to the Bears in July came as no surprise to anyone and the move would hopefully revive his career in a new city.

Set to make his season debut against the Patriots on Monday night, Harry was asked what went wrong during his time in New England and if he is feeling any extra motivation playing against his former team.

"“It could be a lot of different things that led into it. At the end of the day, I’m not worried about any of that. I’m worried about right now, going forward and helping this team win.”"

Despite proclaiming having a chip on his shoulder, he is not letting any unsettled feelings get in the way of showing what he can do for his new team. Harry made it clear that his number one focus is playing to the best of his abilities and maybe even proving the Patriots wrong in the process.

"“It’s more about me. I expect a lot out of myself. I know the way I can play. I know what I can bring to a team. So it’s just about [playing] the way I know I can play. Because I know I can play at a high level.”"

But not all is bad when reminiscing on his time with the Patriots, as Harry said he is excited to see some of his old teammates on the field.

"“I’m trying not to get too caught up in it being the Patriots and it being my former team. I’m obviously excited. I’m excited to see some of my guys pregame. I went through a lot with some of those guys that came in with my [rookie] class. So I’m excited to see them, but I’m just excited to get out there finally.”"