Rex Burkhead turns best season with Bengals into deal with the Patriots
- Author: Regina Holmes Mar 15, 2017,
Mar 15, 2017, 1:00
The 5-foot-10, 210-pounder, has played in 42 National Football League games with one start and has 87 rushing attempts for 375 yards and three touchdowns and 34 receptions for 288 yards with one touchdown.
The Pats may still want to add a bigger running back - either Blount or a player via the draft. He led the Bengals in special-teams snaps in 2015, when he barely played on offense.
Burkhead joins a Patriots backfield that includes Dion Lewis, James White, D.J. Foster, Tyler Gaffney and fullback James Develin.
Burkhead is more of a passing-down back, so the signing shouldn't impact any negotiations with free agent LeGarrette Blount.
The Patriots announced the roster move Tuesday. He originally stepped in for an injured Giovani Bernard, who had a season-ending ACL injury.
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In the finale, he carried 27 times for 119 yards and two touchdowns, while adding two receptions for 25 yards.
Burkhead ran a 4.69-second 40-yard dash (not exactly deceptive speed) coming out of Nebraska in 2013, but his 6.85-second 3-cone and 4.09-second short shuttle are impressive for his position.
Knee problems plagued him to start the 2016 campaign, but in seven games during the regular season, Lewis had 64 carries for 283 yards (4.4-yards per carry) and 17 catches for 94 yards.
Burkhead's special teams ability likely means Bolden will not return.
Burkhead went underused in Cincinnati, which is why this signing could be compared to the addition of wide receiver Chris Hogan from the Buffalo Bills last season.