When linebacker Harvey Langi originally joined the New England Patriots as an undrafted free agent in 2017, he was in demand. Despite not being drafted, the BYU product had offers from 12 teams, requesting his surface. As a result, New England signed Langi for a greater amount of guaranteed money than the average sixth-round pick would receive that season. The extra financial gain, however, would come with its own price. Langi faced strong competition with fellow linebackers David Harris, Elandon Roberts, and Trevor Bates throughout training camp for the starting middle linebacker job.
Making the Patriots roster would be a challenge. Despite the guaranteed money, head coach Bill Belichick will always do what he feels to be best for the football team; regardless of player salary.
Langi was determined to rise to the challenge, proving that he was worth New England’s investment. He continuously impressed the Patriots’ coaching staff with his on-field prowess and his tenacity. When camp had concluded,he was one of four undrafted free agents to survive final cuts. Langi had not only made New England’s 53-man roster, he was named the third middle linebacker on the Patriots' depth chart. He entered his rookie season behind veterans Elandon Roberts and David Harris at the position.
Langi’s career was on track for the type of success which he had been seeking since he first stepped foot on a football field. On September 17, 2017, Langi made his professional regular season debut against the New Orleans Saints. He made his first career tackle in their 36-20 victory. Unfortunately, the good fortune would not last long.
Less than one month after his NFL regular season debut, Langi and his wife, Cassidy were both seriously injured in an automobile accident. Langi suffered injuries to his head, neck, and back while his wife Cassidy broke both hips and multiple ribs. Shortly thereafter, Langi was placed on the reserve/non-football injury list due to the injuries, thus ending his season.
Once again, Harvey Langi faced long odds, both for recovery and for returning to action on the gridiron.
Following a failed comeback attempt with the Patriots in 2018 (the team released him at the conclusion of training camp), Langi signed with the New York Jets practice squad. In 2019, he was promoted to the team’s 53-man roster. During his two seasons with the main club, Langi played in 30 games, compiling 76 total tackles. When the Jets failed to tender him a contract, the 28-year-old returned to the Patriots on a one-year deal.
In most seasons, Langi would be considered a good bet to make the Patriots opening day roster. However, the Pats spent big in the offseason to upgrade at linebacker in 2021, a position in which they struggled in 2020. Not only does New England boast Dont’a Hightower, Matt Judon and Kyle Van Noy at the top of the depth chart, they also enjoy a great deal of riches at the second tier. Ja’Whaun Bentley, Chase Winovich, Josh Uche, Anfernee Jennings and rookie Ronnie Perkins are all expected to earn roster spots, as well.
As a result, it seems that Langi is once again facing an uphill battle for what could potentially be the last spot open at the position. With Raekwon McMillan having been placed on season-ending IR, and Terez Hall still on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list, Langi will be competing with Brandon King, Cassh Maluia and Rashod Berry. Should he succeed in earning a second tour of duty in New England, Langi would be a solid rotational depth option, playing both the off-the-ball and on the edge. He is also a valuable contributor on special teams, primarily on the kicking units.
Langi has looked solid in training camp, thus far. In Thursday’s preseason opener, he played significant minutes in both the first and second half. Langi compiled a team-leading nine total tackles. It was his tip of a Steven Montez-pass that set up Joejuan Williams’ interception in the fourth quarter. However, Langi also continues to struggle to tackle in the open field, where was soundly beaten on a juke by Washington running back Jaret Patterson.
In the final analysis, the odds may be stacked against Harvey Langi in his pursuit of a roster spot in New England for 2021. Still, there may not be anyone (including his competition) that is as well-equipped to handle adversity. He has faced tough roads to success in the past. Whether Langi has one more improbable comeback in him will be decided within the next couple of weeks.