PewterReport.com is reporting that running back Jeff Demps will leave
track and field for the rest of 2013 and focus on football, reporting to
the Buccaneers on Monday. Demps will join the Buccaneers’ battle for
the backup running job behind starter Doug Martin.
PewterReport.com is reporting that Olympic sprinter and Tampa Bay running back Jeff Demps is set to report to the Buccaneers on Monday. Demps has been participating in track and field season during the summer and was excused from Tampa Bay's training camp and preseason games.
Demps, who has world class speed and played football and ran track at the University of Florida in nearby Gainesville, is expected to compete for a reserve running back spot behind starter Doug Martin with the likes of Brian Leonard, rookie Mike James and Peyton Hillis. Demps, who returned kicks and punts at Florida, could also be put into the return mix with wide receiver Eric Page.
It is believed that Bucs offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan has a special offensive package for Demps that would take advantage of his speed and skill set as a runner and receiver, and that Tampa Bay views him as a Tavon Austin-type threat.
The Bucs acquired Demps in a trade with New England that sent running back LeGarrette Blount and a seventh-round draft choice to the Patriots in exchange for a sixth-round pick and the former Gators speedster on the third day of the draft. Tampa Bay had tried to sign Demps last summer after track and field was over, but he opted to join the Patriots instead. New England wanted to trade him this offseason, as head coach Bill Belichick wanted him to exclusively play football for the Patriots.
“[Football] was an uncertainty,” Demps said prior to joining the Patriots. “I was just focused on running and competing in the Olympics. Once all that stuff was over I was ready to come back to the game. I just want to fit in and help the team out.”
Demps played in three preseason games last year in New England and had nine carries for 56 yards, including three-carry, 41-yard game against Tampa Bay that featured a 29-yard run. He also had three catches for 31 yards in the preseason before being placed on injured reserve on August 31 with a minor knee injury.
The 5-foot-7, 175-pound Demps, who has run the 100-meter in a time as fast as 10.01, did not sign with an NFL team after going undrafted in April 2012 because he wanted to focus on training for the 2012 Olympics at the time. Demps ran in the qualifying preliminaries in London, but did not run in the finals and earned a silver medal in the 4x100 meter relay team.
Blessed with 4.2 speed, Demps has experience on offense and in the return game as he finished as Florida’s eighth-leading rusher with 2,470 yards on 367 carries, a 6.7 average, and 23 touchdowns on the ground. As a receiver out of the backfield for the Gators, Demps nabbed 57 passes in his career for 481 yards, an 8.4 average.
The Bucs had Demps report after Week 1, so that his 2013 salary would not be fully guaranteed. The team has allowed him to participate in track, but will get the opportunity to let him practice with the team with a one-week roster exemption before deciding whether to active him to the 53-man roster.
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