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Patriots CB Eric Rowe working his way back into having role with defense

Ryan Hannable
December 07, 2017 - 9:43 am

FOXBORO -- After missing seven games with a groin injury, Eric Rowe returned to the lineup Sunday against the Bills -- although in a reserve role playing just 15 snaps.

This was fine with Rowe, who knows he needs to work his way back into the defense after missing so much time.

“For me personally, my focus is on working back into the defense, trying to contribute any way I can,” Rowe said. “In Buffalo, I was in the backup role. I was just happy to be out there. Steph [Gilmore] went down for a couple snaps, and they threw me out there. I don’t want to be the guy that they throw out there and then I mess up. That would really mess me up mentally. So right now, whatever role I have, I’m just like, ‘You’ve got to take advantage of it.’" 

Rowe initially injured his groin in Week 2, but then further injured it in Week 4.

“I kind of knew,” Rowe said when asked if he had an idea it would be a long-term thing. “Especially the next day afterward when things get sore. And then after a week, I was like, ‘Yeah, this one’s going to be a while.’ Even though I didn’t want it to be like that — shoot, I couldn’t even run, so I couldn’t control it.” 

The former Eagles corner has been practicing for several weeks, but only returned last week as it took awhile to get back into game shape.

“My first week of practice out there, even the practice speed, I was like, ‘Oh my God, this is fast,’" he said. “And then I had to [get] my quick reaction back because it was still hurting when I’d quick twitch. And then the deep balls. So I had to work through all that before I could even show the coaches the confidence that they could put me out there.” 

Second-year player Jonathan Jones has assumed the nickel cornerback role in his absence, but Rowe could find himself in big spots down the stretch and into the postseason, especially against some bigger receivers.

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