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Wednesday, May 21, 2014
Patriots try out two RBs and two TEs

By Mike Reiss

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- With two open roster spots to fill, the New England Patriots continued to explore their options by bringing in four veterans for tryouts on Tuesday -- running backs Ronnie Brown and Brian Leonard, and tight ends Nate Byham and Ben Hartsock.

The Patriots are familiar with the 32-year-old Brown from his time with the Miami Dolphins (2005-10). Brown spent the past two seasons with the San Diego Chargers after playing for the Philadelphia Eagles in 2011. The 6-foot, 223-pound Brown is considered a sure-handed pass-catcher out of the backfield. As a third option behind Ryan Mathews and Danny Woodhead last season in San Diego, he totaled 45 rushes for 157 yards and one touchdown, to go along with eight receptions for 60 yards.

The 30-year-old Leonard played in college at Rutgers, which has been one of Patriots coach Bill Belichick's favorite schools to identify talent. Leonard (6-1, 225) has played for the St. Louis Rams (2006-07), Cincinnati Bengals (2009-12) and Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2013). Last year, he reunited with former Rutgers coach Greg Schiano in Tampa Bay and had one of his most productive seasons -- 47 carries for 182 yards and 29 receptions for 179 yards.

The 25-year-old Byham also has a link to Schiano, one of Belichick's confidants in the coaching profession, as he played in Tampa Bay the past two seasons. The 6-foot-4, 264-pound Byham is considered more of a blocker than pass-catcher, as he totaled six receptions in 15 games played from 2012-13.

The 6-foot-4, 255-pound Hartsock fits a similar profile as the 11-year veteran has 31 career receptions over his time with the Indianapolis Colts (2004-06), Tennessee Titans (2006-07), Atlanta Falcons (2008), New York Jets (2009-10) and Carolina Panthers (2011-13).