Patriots Still Looking For A Running Back?

With New England not present for Kevin Jones workout on Saturday, what does that mean for the Patriots' search for another running back? PI checked with our league sources, and here's what we've learned.

The Patriots are conspicuously quiet after word emerged that running back Kevin Jones held a workout for four teams earlier this weekend. Reports by various media outlets on Friday indicating that Jones canceled his workout were mistaken. The free agent running back held court for a group of scouts and personnel staff from NFL teams.

The first round pick of the Detroit Lions in the 2004 NFL draft, Jones was just the third Detroit runner to top 1,000 yards as a rookie - accumulating 1,133 on 241 carries (4.7 avg.). Bad luck hit Jones his third season when he broke a bone in his foot, cutting short a promising start to his NFL career. Jones then tore the ACL in his right knee last December, and the Lions decided enough was enough, releasing him in March.

Dr. D.S. Ping, who has been helping Jones rehabilitate the knee after Dr. James Andrews' surgery in January, said four teams were present for the Saturday's workout in Saline, Michigan: the Packers, Lions, Steelers and the Dolphins.

"All the teams basically said they were amazed by what Kevin can do," Ping said after Jones did a shuttle run, ran around cones and caught passes.

The Cleveland Browns reportedly asked for a video of the workout.

Andrews said Jones would need 10 months to get back on the field, but Jones claimed earlier this month "I'm ready to play right now."

Jones is one of a group of veteran backs looking for a work, a list that includes Cedric Benson, Shaun Alexander, Samkon Gado, Ron Dayne, and now Najeh Davenport.

Davenport became expendable when the Steelers drafted Rashard Mendenhall in the first round of April's draft to pair with starter Willie Parker. Pittsburgh reportedly tried to trade Davenport, who was to earn $1 million in the final year of his contract, but could find no takers.

Where does that leave the Patriots?

New England hosted both Gado and Jones earlier this offeason looking for another back to join the roster for training camp. Had Jones proved to be healthy enough to run, New England's offer would have been more enticing. Jones left Gillette without a deal telling reporters later that he's not interested in signing for a veteran minimum contract laced with incentives.

That attitude, coupled with Jones' ongoing rehab process, may be enough to send the Patriots looking in another direction for help at the position.

Gado appeared in just 8 games last year. He managed 46 yards rushing on 18 carries (2.6 avg.) for the Texans before being picked up by the Dolphins where he added 104 yards on 35 caries (3.0 avg) and caught 4 passes for 47 yards (11.8 avg.). Those are uninspiring numbers to be certain, and well below his 586-yard (4.1 avg.) performance as a rookie in Green Bay.

The Patriots are trusting that Sammy Morris will return from a freak chest injury that cut short his season last year in New England.

A league insider tells PatriotsInsider.com that New England still wants to add another veteran running back to the mix. If Jones lowers his demands, it could be him. The Patriots were not enthralled with former first-round pick Laurence Maroney's tendency to dance before hitting the hole. Word is that Morris would have won the starting role last season as the team's feature back with Maroney substituting in. The situation would have put Maroney is the position he was in when Corey Dillon rushed for over 1600 yards as the Patriots' feature back.


Site staff from the Packer Report contributed to this article.


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