Sheard (knee) was present for Tuesday's practice, ESPN.com reports.
While not yet a full participant, the sight on the field of Sheard (who sprained his MCL on Aug. 11) in any capacity, is nonetheless an encouraging development for the Patriots' pass rush in advance of Week 1.
Harbor was "shaken up" during Tuesday's practice, ESPN.com reports.
With Rob Gronkowski missing practice Tuesday and Bryce Williams still sidelined, Harbor's unspecified injury further taxes the Patriots' short-term depth at tight end. The team's current healthy options at the position are Martellus Bennett, AJ Derby, Bear Pascoe and Steven Scheu.
Williams has missed several days of practice with an undisclosed injury.
Clearly behind Rob Gronkowski and Martellus Bennett on the Patriots' tight end depth chart, Williams is competing for depth slotting at the position along with Clay Harbor, A.J. Derby, Steven Scheu and Bear Pascoe.
When asked Sunday for a timetable for his return to full action, Mitchell -- who dislocated his left elbow on Aug. 11 -- said he didn't "have an answer for that," CSN New England reports.
On the plus side, Mitchell -- who has returned to the practice field in a limited capacity -- while sporting a large brace around his elbow, noted Sunday that he's "feeling good...feeling a lot better than the day it happened." Once he's able to play without restrictions, Mitchell could emerge as a candidate to claim the Patriots' "X" receiver role, but for now his early-season fantasy upside is somewhat stalled by his elbow issue. Beyond that, it may take some in-season injuries for Mitchell to merit lineup consideration, given that there are plenty of other options in the Patriots' passing attack, namely fellow wideouts Julian Edelman, Chris Hogan (and Danny Amendola to a lesser degree), as well as the team's talented tight end combo of Rob Gronkowski and Martellus Bennett.
Ninkovich, who tore his triceps on Aug. 9, was present at the start of Sunday's practice before moving on to the Patriots' lower field to do conditioning work, ESPN.com reports.
Initial Boston Herald reports suggested that Ninkovich's return would be a matter of "weeks, not months." While it's unclear when the defensive end might be able to practice fully, his presence on the field Sunday, in any capacity, is a positive sign nonetheless.
Brady (suspension) completed three of nine passes for 76 yards and a touchdown in Friday's preseason game against the Panthers.
Jimmy Garoppolo started and played the first three drives, before giving way to Brady for the next four series. Brady made a few beautiful throws, including a 33-yard touchdown to Chris Hogan, but he also got quite lucky on an easy dropped interception. Brady is unlikely to play in the Patriots' final exhibition, which means his next game action will come Week 5 in Cleveland, after he serves a four-game suspension.
Williams tore his left ACL during Wednesday's practice and he'll likely be placed on Injured Reserve, Jim McBride of the Boston Globe reports.
As expected, Williams' injury was a serious one as he was seen on crutches Thursday awaiting the unfortunate results. This ensures Clay Harbor's spot as the No. 3 option at tight end behind Rob Gronkowski and Martellus Bennett heading into the 2016 season, as Williams enters a long road to recovery.
Butler missed the Pro Bowl due to a sprained knee, Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald reports. "There was a play on third down [in the AFC championship game] when I made a tackle or something like that and bent my knee back," Butler said Friday in San Francisco. "It swelled up pretty bad. I didn't feel it during the game because of all the adrenaline pumping. When we got back, it swelled up pretty bad, and the team just decided it was a good thing to sit me out."
Butler became instantly famous with his game-winning interception of Russell Wilson in last year's Super Bowl, and the loss of Darrelle Revis in free agency elevated him to the Patriots' No. 1 cornerback. The pseudo promotion worked wonders, as Butler notched 67 tackles (56 solo), 15 passes defended, and two interceptions while regularly drawing the opponent's top wide receiver over the course of his second campaign. While his recovery effort won't include surgery, rest and regular icing sessions have been his regimen to date.
Heyward (ankle) said he expects to be ready for Week 1, despite suffering a high ankle sprain in Friday's preseason game against the Saints, Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports.
While not completely unheard of, two weeks would represent a very quick recovery from a high ankle sprain. In all likelihood, Heyward will be no better than questionable for Week 1, perhaps even needing to miss the first few games of the season. It would be a big loss for Pittsburgh's defense, though the unit does boast improved depth in the front seven this year.
Thomas suffered a right groin injury in Friday's matchup with the Saints, and will not return to the game.
It is unclear the severity of Thomas' injury at the moment. The 25-year-old currently projects as the second strong safety on the Steelers' depth chart. Expect an update on his status when more information is made available.
Allen missed all of last season after suffering a knee injury in Week 1, but his release also comes after he signed a lucrative four-year extension with Pittsburgh in 2014. Now a free agent, Allen's absence further ensures the Steelers will address the cornerback position through the draft.
Dupree (groin) admitted he suffered setbacks that have delayed his return, accoring to ESPN.com writer Jeremy Fowler. "I keep trying to go out there too quickly," Dupree said. "I can't be a speed dude and look slow. I can't be a non-explosive guy when everybody knows I'm explosive. That's got to be (a departure) from why the Steelers picked me."
Dupree, who missed most of training camp as a result of this injury, was in competition with James Harrison and Arthur Moats to start at ouside linebacker after the 2015 first round draft pick impressed with 26 tackles, including four sacks, in his rookie season. With two games remaining in the preseason, he still has an opportunity to win the job outright, but may find himself in a timeshare if his injury lingers.
Bell (suspension) gained 21 yards on three carries and 37 yards on five receptions (five targets) in Friday's preseason game against the Saints.
Ben Roethlisberger and Antonio Brown only made brief appearances, but Bell played deep into the second quarter, perhaps because he uncharacteristically lost a fumble early in the game. Regardless, Bell appeared to be in mid-season form, showing no signs of the knee injury that brought his 2015 campaign to an early end. After he serves a three-game suspension to start the season, Bell should slide right back in as the premiere asset at his position. DeAngelo Williams figures to handle a heavy workload in his absence, with Fitzgerald Toussaint and/or Daryl Richardson occasionally mixing in.
Burns (quadriceps) is not expected to play Friday against the Saints, ESPN's Jeremy Fowler reports.
Although Burns is out stretching and working out on the field during pregame, the expectation is that the Steelers' first rounder will be held out Friday. In his absence, the Steelers figure to work in fellow reserve corners Al-Hajj Shabazz and Julian Whigham against New Orleans.
Golson (foot) claims he is a targeting a return to practice seven weeks from now, Dale Lolley of the Observer-Reporter reports.
Golson underwent Lisfranc surgery roughly two weeks ago, but the former second round pick from 2015 is already mapping out his return to action. Just 23-years-old, Golson possesses tremendous upside and the Steelers remain optimistic that he can still carve out a role with the defense at some point in the season.
Shazier totaled seven tackles (six solo) in the Steelers' loss to the Broncos on Sunday. He finished with 20 tackles in two post season games.
Despite missing four games this season due to injuries (knee, concussion), Shazier finished the year with 87 tackles (55 solo), second on Pittsburgh to Lawrence Timmons (119), including 3.5 sacks. He also had an interception, two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery. Shazier has one year remaining on his rookie contract, and the Steelers would be wise to resign him, just as fantasy owners would be to consider him on draft day in IDP formats.
Bryant was never under consideration of being cut by the Steelers despite his recently imposed year-long suspension, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports.
Bryant's multiple violations of the league's substance abuse policy triggered a minimum one-year suspension from the league, but the Steelers never considered releasing him, according to general manager Kevin Colbert. Instead, Pittsburgh will hope Bryant makes the necessary changes to his life to get reinstated next year, when he would have two years remaining on his contract with the team. With Bryant suspended, Steelers receivers Markus Wheaton and, more specifically, Sammie Coates, will be looked upon to take advantage of their increased opportunities this season.
Mitchell (shoulder) is ahead of schedule in his recovery from shoulder and hand surgery, The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports.
Mitchell hasn't missed a game either of the past two seasons, but underwent shoulder surgery this offseason to repair a torn labrum that seemed to plague him during the conclusion of the 2015 campaign. The veteran went under the knife in December, and initially planned on taking his rehab slow, so to not take any risks before training camp, but he quickly progressed ahead of schedule in his recovery, and fully participated in June's minicamp just over four months removed from surgery. Mitchell should be full-go for the commencement of training camp come July 28.