Relegated to the physically unable to perform (PUP) list for much of the season because of a foot injury, New England running back Patrick Pass has been activated and moved to the team's 53-man roster.
The Patriots had until Tuesday afternoon, the league deadline for activating players from PUP, to make the move. Pass began practicing three weeks ago, and New England officials used nearly all of the three-week evaluation period available to them by league rules, to deliberate Pass' situation. Had the team opted not to activate Pass, he would have been placed on injured reserve for the rest of the season.
There were periods of inconsistency during the three-week evaluation period, when Pass would regress a bit physically, but the Pats clearly feel he can contribute during the playoff stretch run.
Because the Patriots were carrying only 52 players on their roster, after placing punter Josh Miller on the injured reserve list Friday, they did not have to make another move to create a spot for Pass.
It is not known if Pass will dress for Sunday afternoon's game against the Chicago Bears.
Pass, 28, is a seven-year veteran whose versatility is highly regarded by the New England coaching staff. Despite the success of the Patriots in the first half of the season, Pass' all-around play was missed. If he is able to return whole from the foot injury that sidelined him since training camp this summer, Pass will be a much-welcomed addition for the second half of the campaign.
The former University of Georgia standout, a seventh-round choice in the 2000 draft, has appeared in 75 games and started 11 contests during his NFL tenure. He has played tailback, fullback, lined up as a wide receiver in the slot, returned kickoffs and played on the kick coverage teams. His size (5-feet-10, 217) gives the Patriots a tough, inside runner in short-yardage situations and he is also a very good blocker.
Pass has carried 122 times for 505 yards and three touchdowns and has 64 receptions for 546 yards and one score. He has returned 36 kickoffs for a 20.7-yard average and has nearly 40 special teams tackles.
Senior writer Len Pasquarelli covers the NFL for ESPN.com.