- Mike Reiss, ESPN Staff Writer
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FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- The New England Patriots on Sunday traded running back Jeff Demps and a seventh-round draft choice (No. 229 overall) to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in exchange for running back LeGarrette Blount.
The Buccaneers had been trying to trade Blount, according to the Tampa Times, while the dynamics of Demps' situation with the Patriots changed this offseason when he decided to run track for Team USA while hoping still to play football. It's unclear if Demps' pursuit of track led to the trade, but it seems likely given that the Patriots had guaranteed him $211,000 in a three-year contract last year as a rookie free agent.
As for Blount, he was phased out of the Buccaneers' offense last year, carrying just 41 times for 151 yards (3.7-yard average) with two touchdowns. As a rookie in 2010 under former Buccaneers coach Raheem Morris, Blount rushed for 1,007 yards on 201 carries.
"Excited to have him here, think he's a good football player," Patriots coach Bill Belichick said. "He's had a lot of production and I think he got in a situation last year where they obviously went with [Doug] Martin, but I think he's a good football player and happy to add him to our team.
"I think we felt we had an opportunity to get a good player at a price we felt was fair, good value for what we gave up, and that's why we did it. Look, our job is to acquire good football players. That's what we're in the business of."
At 6 feet, 247 pounds, Blount becomes the Patriots' biggest back and joins a position that includes Stevan Ridley (5-11, 220), Shane Vereen (5-9, 205), Brandon Bolden (5-11, 220) and Leon Washington (5-8, 203). The Patriots inherit his one-year contract. Blount could push Ridley for playing time and could also become a
go-to presence in short-yardage and goal-line situations.
Blount's resume includes some on- and off-field issues and altercations, in college and the NFL.
The Patriots host the Buccaneers on Sept. 22.
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