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Patriots trade Jeff Demps to Tampa Bay

New England Patriots' Jeff Demps (42).

AP Photo/Kathy Willens

New England Patriots' Jeff Demps (42).

FOXBOROUGH — The Patriots on Saturday traded running back Jeff Demps and the 229th overall pick in the draft to Tampa Bay in exchange for running back LeGarrette Blount.

New England signed Demps as a rookie free agent last August, just a couple of weeks after he was a member of the silver medal-winning 4 x 100-meter relay team for the United States at the Olympics.

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But after playing in the Patriots’ final two preseason games, he was placed on injured reserve with a foot injury.

Then last month, news came that Demps wanted to resume his track career, but play football as well. That apparently did not sit well with coach Bill Belichick, who places commitment to football very high on the list of what he’s looking for in a player.

Blount, drafted by the Buccaneers in 2010 out of Oregon, got just 41 carries last season, in the first year of coach Greg Schiano’s tenure. He cracked 1,000 yards (at 5 yards per carry) in 13 games as a rookie, but had 781 in 2011 and then just 151 last year in a limited role. Rookie Doug Martin was a star for Tampa Bay last year, which played a part in Blount’s decreased workload.

Shalise Manza Young can be reached at syoung@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @shalisemyoung.
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