Damien Harris reportedly is leaving one AFC East team to join another.
The veteran running back plans to sign a one-year contract with Buffalo Bills, according to multiple reports. Adam Schefter of ESPN was the first to break the news Monday evening.
Harris was selected by the Patriots in the third round of the 2019 NFL Draft. After effectively red-shirting his rookie campaign, the Alabama product went on to enjoy a productive career in New England, serving as the Patriots’ starting running back each of the last three seasons.
Harris regularly battled injuries but was an above-average back when healthy. He ran for 691 yards and two TDs in 2020 before posting 929 yards and 15 scores the following season. However, injuries and the emergence of sophomore Rhamondre Stevenson resulted in Harris seeing a reduced role this season, and by the end, he appeared more than ready to leave New England behind.
Now, the 26-year-old is joining the Patriots’ top divisional rival, which reportedly lost running back Devin Singletary to the Houston Texans on Monday. Harris likely will share carries in Buffalo with second-year back James Cook.
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The Patriots last week signed running back James Robinson in a move that felt like a precursor to Harris’ departure.
Robinson enjoyed a fantastic 2020 season as a rookie with the Jacksonville Jaguars but suffered a serious Achilles injury late in the 2021 campaign. Clearly not 100%, Robinson struggled early in 2022 before being traded to the New York Jets. He was a healthy scratch in six of the final seven games of the season.
New England’s running back depth chart now includes Stevenson, Robinson and youngsters Pierre Strong and Kevin Harris. Veteran J.J. Taylor also will battle for a roster spot in training camp.