While their teammates wrap up the exhibition season against each other Thursday night, the two defensive stars who held out of training camp almost certainly will be on the sidelines.
Samuel, who shared the NFL lead with 10 interceptions last season, signed a one-year, $7.79 million contract on Tuesday for his fifth season with New England and has been given a roster exemption.
Samuel's return would send Randall Gay, who has been filling in, back to a role in the nickel defense.
"I've never been in a situation like that," Samuel said of missing so much practice time. "It's new for me and I'm ready for the challenge, though. Hopefully, I'll overcome it."
"I just don't think you can prepare your team for the season by just focusing it totally on your preseason opponents," New England coach Bill Belichick said. "There are going to be things that are going to come up during the year where we just want to cover it ... and then we allocate time to our preseason opponents."
Many starters play sparingly or not at all in the last exhibition game.