Demps wants to be a part-time Patriot

Demps wants to be a part-time Patriot
March 25, 2013, 11:45 am
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Jeff Demps wants to be a trailblazer. He wants to be the first Patriots player to dictate his rules to Bill Belichick without having played a snap in the NFL.
My best guess as to Belichick’s reaction when he hears Demps’ plan to pursue a full season of track and join the Patriots sometime around midseason? This.
Demps signed a three-year contract with the Patriots last August after competing for Team USA in the London Olympics as a sprinter. His base salary in 2012 was $390K. His base in 2013 is set to be $405K. His signing bonus was a modest $11K.
When Demps was injured in the final preseason game against the Giants, the Patriots put him on injured reserve. While Demps’ injury was not season-ending, his lack of training camp participation made the IR move a fortuitous move for New England in that it gave them a redshirt season in which they could prep Demps for 2013.
But Demps’ heart seems to have strayed. Speaking to Sports Talk Florida, Demps – hypothetically addressing Belichick - said, “In order for me to get where I want on the track and field side, it’ll take a full year of prep. After the season if you guys are willing to let me come back midseason, I’ll be able to do that. If not, I guess I’ll just focus on running.”
The upside of having a player such as Demps is his speed can be a game-changer. But the mitigating factors may outweigh the good he can do.
For one, his running weight is about 175 pounds and – despite a low center of gravity – it won’t take much to drop him. Additionally, he’s a running back and with that come pass protection responsibilities. Mastering the mental side of that job comes first. Applying it comes second. Trying to apply it at 175 pounds without having a full training camp and weeks of practices to figure out how to deal with blitzing linebackers and safeties without getting himself or the quarterback killed will be a bit of a challenge.
He’d be a nice weapon in the kickoff return game, but the Patriots signed Leon Washington and he can do some of that. Meanwhile, do you take up a roster spot for a kickoff returner when less than half of all kickoffs are even returned.
I wouldn’t expect the Patriots to make a quick decision on Demps. Still, if he is committed to not committing to football, he may soon be hearing this.