FOXBORO, Mass. — If the Patriots believed Pierre Strong or Kevin Harris were ready to be Rhamondre Stevenson’s top backup, they wouldn’t have hosted Ezekiel Elliott on a free agent visit. They wouldn’t be kicking the tires on the likes of Dalvin Cook and Leonard Fournette.

So, the pressure is on Strong, a fourth-round pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, to show the kind of all-around improvement New England wants to see. He doesn’t have time to worry about Elliott, who got dinner with Mac Jones over the weekend and reportedly still could sign with the Patriots.

And Strong has the right mindset, judging from his post-practice media availability on Monday.

“I really don’t look at that type of stuff,” the sophomore back said. “I just do what’s best for me, or what’s best for me. So, I don’t really look at the outside stuff.”

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Strong added: “He’s a great running back, but I just try to focus on me, focus on what I can do and I want to help the team out.”

Both Strong and Harris showed flashes of potential last season — especially during a late-season win against the Arizona Cardinals — but remain unproven. That said, both saw increased opportunities during Monday’s camp practice with Rhamondre Stevenson sidelined, and the results were positive.

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Ultimately, it seems like a foregone conclusion that New England will add a back in the near future, be it Elliott or someone else.

Featured image via Nathan Ray Seebeck/USA TODAY Sports Images