The New England Patriots pounced on the opportunity to boost their defense, signing veteran linebacker James Harrison to a one-year deal days after he was released by the Pittsburgh Steelers. However, Patriots head coach Bill Belichick appeared unenthusiastic about the veteran, uttering just a few words about Harrison’s arrival during the team’s Wednesday press conference. Before meeting Harrison on Tuesday, Belichick said he had little experience with the 39-year-old linebacker. “It’s always good to meet somebody,” said Belichick when asked if it was important to meet him to try to get to know him.

When asked about his thoughts on Harrison’s career, Belichick replied: “good.” Maybe Belichick is just waiting to see how Harrison will perform against the New York Jets on Sunday before he talks at length about his latest addition. Despite having just 40 snaps with the Steelers this season, Harrison is expected to play a key role on defense, especially with his pass-rushing, as the Patriots (12-3) go for a crucial win against the Jets (5-10).

Harrison to get No. 92

One day after signing with the Patriots, Harrison made his first appearance in practice wearing his familiar No. 92 uniform, his number during his time with the Steelers. Defensive end Geneo Grissom owned the number but he traded it for No.

96 when Harrison arrived. Harrison left the Steelers as the franchise’s all-time leader in sacks with 80.5, and the Patriots are hoping that he will bring his pass-rushing ability to the team. The Patriots also expect Harrison to provide some depth with Dont'a Hightower and Shea McClellin out for the season with injuries. Harrison will also provide the Patriots with some stability at linebacker with Kyle Van Noy’s health status still in doubt.

Wideout Malcolm Mitchell practices

Wide receiver Malcolm Mitchell also practiced for the first time since early September when he was placed on injured reserve due to a knee injury. Mitchell’s return to the practice field means that the Patriots have designated him as their second and final returnee off injured reserve. The Patriots now have three weeks to activate Mitchell -- or not.

In his rookie year, Mitchell caught 32 passes for 401 yards and four touchdowns. In Super Bowl LI, Mitchell received six passes for 70 yards from Tom Brady. As of now, the Patriots are deep at wide receiver with Brandin Cooks, Danny Amendola, Phillip Dorsett, Kenny Britt, Chris Hogan and Matthew Slater. The Patriots would have to release one receiver in order to make room for Mitchell.