The New England Patriots will use Olympic silver medallist Jeff Demps on their squad this year.
Demps, 22, played running back at Florida but was not drafted by an NFL team because he said he wanted to focus on his track career.
Patriots player personnel director Nick Caserio stated New England signed the sprinter because he has potential.
“Good with the ball, good speed, caught the ball OK, a little bit under-sized,” Caserio said. “Florida has had a track record of some pretty good football players that have come out of there. But any time we go into a school, we’ll look at everybody regardless of whatever their circumstance is.”
Demps earned the Olympic silver medal in the 4×100 relay as part of the team that finished second to Jamaica at the London Games. Several NFL teams were interested in him, including the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the New York Jets.
Demps had 2,470 career yards rushing and 23 touchdowns in four seasons with the Gators, but he did not attend any college football all-star games or take part in any NFL draft workouts to focus on track. He averaged 28.8 yards a return during his four-year career and also won multiple national championships in track and field.
The Patriots opened training camp almost a month ago, but there is no concern that Demps will be out of shape, having just returned from the Olympics. He ran in the preliminary heats and was replaced for the finals, but collected a silver medal for his efforts.
Demps played in 51 games at Florida. The five foot, seven inch 191-pound standout finished his career with 367 carries and a 6.7-yard average. The Patriots opened the preseason last week with a 7-6 win over the New Orleans Saints. They played host to the Philadelphia Eagles on Monday.