Olympic track & field star and former Florida Gators running back Jeff Demps made headlines when he signed with the New England Patriots last summer. The team guaranteed him $211,000 to sign last August, and he wound up making roughly $400,000 while spending the entire season on injured reserve.
Demps was expected to rejoin the team for the 2013-2014 season and make football his priority moving forward, but that doesn’t appear to be the case. Demps’ agents told the Patriots this week that their client plans to participate in track & field events all the way up until August and that he would like to rejoin the team midway through the 2013 season.
When asked how he planned on explaining his decision to Bill Belichick, Demps responded to ESPN Boston saying:
“Listen Coach, I want to do both, but in order for me to get to where I want to be on the track-and-field side, it’ll take a full year of preparation. And after the season, if you guys are willing to let me come back, you know, probably midseason, and work out and train and get ready for the season, I’ll be able to do that. If not, then I guess I’ll just focus on running.”
I think it’s safe to say Belichick and Patriot fans won’t be pleased about Demps going back on his promise to focus on football, but it’s not like the team hasn’t prepared themselves for the scenario. Veteran running back/returner Leon Washington signed with the team a few weeks ago, but Demps doesn’t seem to worried about the team moving on.
“If I’m not able to do football anymore, it’s kind of like I’m just opening up another chapter of my life, and it’s on the track-and-field side.”
It’ll be interesting to see if the Pats and Demps can work out some sort of deal that will allow him to still play football while participating in track & field. As a fan, I certainly hope so…it’s not everyday you get to see an Olympic silver medalist return kicks for your favorite team.