Mike Gillislee might be in line for a redemption game against the Bills in Week 16 after all.
In true Bill Belichick fashion, Buffalo's super-efficient backup running back in 2015 and 2016 has been used sparingly in New England after signing a two-year, $6.4 million deal with the Patriots in the offseason.
Strangely, Gillislee hasn't carried the ball since Week 8 and has been inactive for the last six weeks.
He had three rushing touchdowns in Week 1 against the Chiefs and reached the end zone the following game against the Saints but has not scored for New England since.
However, Rex Burkhead suffered a knee injury against the Steelers in Week 15, which could clear the way for Gillislee to get back on the field for the Patriots against the Bills on Christmas Eve.
When asked Monday how Gillislee has handled being inactive the past six weeks, Belichick told reporters: "Mike's very consistent. He works hard all the time. I think at this point all of our players have been told, and need to know, they need to be ready to go every week."
Last week, Kevin Duffy of MassLive.com, wrote an article with these comments from Gillislee's backfield demotion:
"It’s crazy, because just coming here, you just expect to be out there. Who wouldn’t when you play football? I love football. It’s a coaches’ decision. I just leave it up to the coaches. As far as that, I just go out and I work and compete. That’s all I can do. . . . As far as me being backup, I feel like I shouldn’t, but right now I’m in a situation where I’m not playing. It’s all about how I handle it, and how I handle it is I work ever harder. And I wait for my number to be called.”
On the year, Gillislee is averaging 3.6 yards per carry after back-to-back seasons with a 5.7 yards-per-rush average in Buffalo.
He could get his first carry since October against the Bills this Sunday.
Story topics: Mike Gillislee