N'Keal Harry's July trade request signaled he likely wouldn't be long for New England.
If you asked him about his desires Friday, he sure didn't sound like someone who wanted to be shipped out of town. Harry delivered a message of focus and gratitude, not discontent when speaking with reporters.
"Right now I'm really not worried about anything trade-wise," Harry said, via MassLive.com. "I'm focused on how to be the best version of myself on the field, going out there, working hard and improving every day."
Harry spoke like a first-round pick in his first or second camp, not a receiver whose agent publicly stated it would be best if he and the Patriots went their separate ways. If anything, Harry's tone Friday fit right into the Patriot Way; maybe it just took a month for it to soak in.
"Everything has been very normal," Harry said when asked how he's been received by coach Bill Belichick and his teammates. "I've just been focused on helping this team win and doing whatever I can to become the best version of myself."
Just as there's sound logic to requesting a trade, there's also good reason for Harry attempting to focus solely on football. He hasn't looked the part of a first-round pick in his first two seasons, and he also hasn't had the benefit of a clean bill of health for a good portion of his career.
If he's going to find a new home -- or a more prominent role with the Patriots -- he'll need to prove he's worth the time.
To this effort, Harry said he's spent the offseason attempting to reclaim what made him a star receiver at Arizona State and first-round pick.
"I feel like the past couple years I've been focusing on playing so big and just trying to just play big," Harry said. "I feel like I lost a little of my wiggle. So this past offseason that's what I focused on a lot. A lot of agility drills and stuff like that just to try to get that wiggle back."
Harry said Friday he'd "absolutely" be happy if he was a Patriot by the end of training camp, a potential outcome that wasn't seen as guaranteed when his agent requested a trade. New England actively addressed its receiving corps in the offseason, signing Nelson Agholor and Kendrick Bourne to hopefully prevent the repeat of a reality that saw the Patriots relying on the likes of Damiere Byrd and Jakobi Meyers last season.
These additions made the math tougher to solve when it came to finding a place for Harry, which played a role in the subsequent trade request submitted by his agent, Jamal Tooson.
Harry didn't want to dive into the reasoning behind his trade request, directing such inquiries to Tooson's office.
"Whatever happens with my representation, that's between -- I mean, you guys can go ask my representation," Harry said. "You all can have that discussion with them. I'm not focused on any of that right now."
Perhaps Harry has had a change of heart, or maybe he's just leaving open the possibility that he might, in fact, make the Patriots' final roster and have a chance to contribute to a team that's expected to improve this season. He might also realize there currently isn't much of a market for his services.
If Harry does end up on the team, he certainly wouldn't be upset about it.
"Because I just feel like I can really help this team win," Harry said. "And I feel like I can have a big role within this team."
For now, it's nothing more than a bunch of hypotheticals. But we learned Friday it certainly isn't trade-or-bust for Harry.
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