Jeff Demps has agreed to terms with the New England Patriots, according to Kevin O'Donnell of Tampa Bay's Fox 13 and Ian Rapoport of NFL.com:
Breaking: Olympic sprinter Jeff Demps will sign a contract to play for the #Patriots, per 1 of his agents, Nohemy Baltodano. Wow!— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) August 17, 2012
ESPN.com reports earlier this week indicated a strong interest in Demps’ services prior to the signing. “A lot of teams” were interested, according to Daniel Rose, Demps’ agent. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers and New York Jets were among those teams.
Demps, 22, a former standout Florida Gators running back and track athlete, chose to pass on the 2012 NFL draft and pursue his track aspirations at the 2012 Olympics. At Florida he racked up 2,470 yards rushing and scored 23 touchdowns on the football field and won NCAA titles in the 60-meter indoor and 100-meter outdoor track events.
In the recent London Games, Demps earned a silver medal as a member of the USA’s men’s 4x100-meter relay, though he didn't compete in the final. The team impressed but was bested by the unbeatable, world-record-setting performance of Usain Bolt, Yohan Blake and the Jamaican team.
After achieving his goals at the Olympics, Demps decided he wasn’t content with just an Olympic medal. According to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com, Demps filed paperwork with the NFL indicating that he had the goal of playing in the league in 2012.
Demps’ teammate Chris Rainey, who Demps shared time with in the backfield during their time at Florida, was drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the fifth round of the draft.
Picking him up this late in training camp may be risky, but the Patriots can teach him as they go. After all, you can teach X’s and O’s, but you can’t teach the game-changing breakaway speed that Demps brings to the table.
There’s one thing that’s for sure—Jeff Demps can flat-out fly, and he’s going to get the opportunity to display his talents on Sundays, whether it’s at running back or with the special teams unit in New England.
Adding another potential weapon to their arsenal, the prolific Patriots offense has just solidified their standing as the most prominent offensive juggernaut in the league.
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