The New England Patriots received bad news Monday regarding one of their running backs.
Tests revealed Jeremy Hill tore his ACL during Sunday’s 27-20 win over the Houston Texans, according to a report from NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport. He will miss the remainder of the season.
Hill, who signed with the Patriots in March after four seasons with the Cincinnati Bengals, impressed during the preseason, beating out incumbent Mike Gillislee for a roster spot as New England’s power back. He carried the ball four times for 25 yards, caught one pass for 6 yards and partially blocked a punt against the Texans before exiting the game early in the third quarter.
Hill sustained his injury while trying to tackle Texans safety Tyrann Mathieu following a Rob Gronkowski fumble. Fullback James Develin’s shoulder made contact with the side of Hill’s right knee, resulting in the torn ligament.
“That’s incredibly unfortunate,” Develin said after the game, “but we’ve just got to keep pressing on and just try to work as hard as we can and play hard in his honor.”
Losing Hill puts a strain on New England’s running back depth, as they now have just two fully healthy players at the position: James White and Rex Burkhead. First-round draft pick Sony Michel sat out Sunday’s game with a knee injury that forced him to miss the entire preseason, and his status for this weekend’s matchup with the Jacksonville Jaguars remains unclear.
The Patriots, who released Gillislee and Brandon Bolden at final cuts, do have undrafted rookie running back Ralph Webb on their practice squad. If they choose to add a back through free agency, the list of available players includes Orleans Darkwa, Jamaal Charles, Kenneth Farrow, Kenjon Barner, Matthew Dayes, Thomas Rawls and Terrance West.
Barner and Dayes worked out for the Patriots last week, and the team reportedly showed interest in Darkwa during the spring. Farrow briefly was on the Patriots’ 90-man roster late in the preseason.
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