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Patriots Notebook

Shane Vereen steps into third-down role

The role of third-down back for the Patriots likely falls to Shane Vereen.

Steven Senne/AP

The role of third-down back for the Patriots likely falls to Shane Vereen.

FOXBOROUGH — With Danny Woodhead now in San Diego, the role of third-down back for the Patriots likely falls to Shane Vereen.

In 2012, the second-round draft pick out of California-Berkeley played in 13 regular-season games, as well as New England’s two postseason games, after being limited to just five his rookie season because of injury.

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Vereen knows Woodhead brought a lot to the offense.

“It’s going to be hard to replace a guy like Woody,” he said. “He had a lot of experience. He had a lot of knowledge. He’s a smart player. His role was pretty key to the team. I learned a lot from him.

“You can’t really replace him. All you can do is move on and hope to get better from there.”

The 24-year-old had a tremendous game in the divisional round against Houston, with 124 yards of offense and three touchdowns — one rushing, two receiving.

“I think what I learned from that is that I can do it, confidence wise,” he said. “What I can take from it is that I can still get a lot better — there were still a lot of mistakes that were made. A lot of areas to grow. I take that in stride.”

He has done what he can to welcome LeGarrette Blount to the team, a fellow Pac-10 product (Blount played at Oregon). Vereen said Blount seems happy for the chance to start fresh after being dealt to New England by Tampa Bay on draft weekend.

Vereen has also become a hockey fan. Growing up in Southern California he had a few friends that played, but he didn’t pay much attention. That has changed since coming to New England.

Vereen watched Monday night’s Game 7 between the Bruins and Maple Leafs and its thrilling conclusion.

“I was very disheartened when they went down 4-1. But there was still time left, and there’s one thing we learned in football is that the game is not over until it’s over,” Vereen said.

Harmon signs

According to the NFL transaction wire, the Patriots signed third-round pick Duron Harmon. He is the first of the team’s seven draft picks to sign. Harmon, the 91st overall pick out of Rutgers, is a 6-foot, 200-pound defensive back . . . Defensive lineman Brandon Deaderick, released by the Patriots on Monday, was claimed off waivers by Jacksonville.

Eagles sign Jones

The Philadelphia Eagles signed former Cowboys running back Felix Jones to a one-year contract. A first-round selection by Dallas in 2008, Jones has rushed for 2,728 yards and 11 touchdowns, averaging 4.8 yards per carry. Wide receiver Marvin McNutt was released to make room for Jones . . . Chargers outside linebacker Melvin Ingram tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee, putting his season in jeopardy. Ingram was hurt during an organized team activity practice. He was the Chargers’ first-round pick — 18th overall — out of South Carolina in last year’s draft . . . Quarterback Jordan Rodgers, an undrafted rookie and the younger brother of Packers star Aaron Rodgers, had hernia surgery and will be out for the Jaguars until training camp in July . . . Former Pro Bowl running back Chuck Muncie died at age 60. Obituary, B14.

Material from the Associated Press was used in this report.
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