Now that the Patriots have placed Sammy Morris on the reserve/injured list, what's next? Will they go with four running backs and rely on Laurence Maroney to carry the load, or are there options? According to Scout.com senior NFL writer Adam Caplan, it's a very real possibility that former Patriot running back Corey Dillon may return to Foxboro.
Caplan confirmed that the Patriots have expressed interest in having Dillon back in New England, and the feeling may be mutual. Both parties have discussed the possibility of Dillon returning to the team where he set his career and franchise record 1,655 yards in 2004, to lead the Patriots to the Super Bowl.
The Patriots released the 10-year veteran at his own request at the start of the free agency period this year. Although there's interest from the Patriots, Dillon has just started working out again, and has to get back into football shape. Caplan noted that a contract offer has yet to be made.
New England has explored the possibility of adding a running back to replace Morris already. Free agent Kevan Barlow was in Foxboro for a visit nearly two weeks ago (10/15), and it's a generally accepted fact that New England keeps a short list of emergency list players at the ready for just such a situation. Dillon's previous experience playing in New England could prove to be a better fit in New England than the other backs on the open market.
After leaving New England, Dillon took time to address his options in free agency. With teams such as the Buffalo Bills, Tennessee Titans and Green Bay Packers interested in acquiring a running back, Dillon had drawn interest from a number of teams. Although he set up potential visits, he canceled trops to both Buffalo and Tennessee. Those teams opted to go other directions with Buffalo selecting Marshawn Lynch in the first round of the NFL Draft, while Tennessee re-signed Chris Brown and selected Chris Henry in the second round of the Draft.
New England Patriots RBs Corey Dillon (L)and Laurence Maroney celebrate a win over the Cincinnati Bengals Oct. 1, 2006(AP Photo/David Kohl,file)
The loss of Morris is something the Patriots need to address. Second year running back Laurence Maroney is a solid open field runner, but he has been hampered by numerous injuries including off-season shoulder surgery. Much like Dillon, Morris was adept at gaining the tough yards on the inside. With Morris out, New England needs a bigger back to carry the ball inside the tackles. Despite having Heath Evans and Kyle Eckel on the roster, an experienced primary back like Dillon could be a good fit.
Both Dillon and Maroney got along well last year, and Dillon would be asked to reprise his role as mentor and complimentary back to Maroney for 2007. Caplan believes that Dillon would assume the main backup role to Maroney if he is re-signed by New England.
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