Patriots pull in veteran running back Steven Jackson
One day after Joey Iosefa gave the Patriots’ rushing attack a shot of adrenaline with a 14-carry, 51-yard performance, the team has reportedly added more depth by bringing Steven Jackson into the fold.
Though the team had no official announcement, the veteran running back’s official Twitter handle (@sj39) now describes him as a “New England Patriots running back’’ and Monday he tweeted “I’m back.’’ accompanied by a picture of him doing a pull-up.
During a call with reporters Monday, Bill Belichick declined to discuss reports about the 32-year-old Jackson, who was in Foxborough for a workout last week.
“Yeah, I’m not going to comment on any players that aren’t on our team,’’ said the Patriots coach.
However, when Belichick was asked if he expected any roster moves in the next 24-48 hours, he said, “At this time of year, yeah, it’s definitely possible.’’
Offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, who worked with Jackson in St. Louis in 2011, also refused to address the reports or what he saw during their time together.
“I’m going to stick to the guys on our roster right now, the guys that we have, and I appreciate the question but I’m going to stick with the guys I have on the team,’’ McDaniels said Monday.
Jackson’s addition would give the Patriots four running backs on the 53-man roster, although a corresponding move would have to be made. The Patriots would have Jackson, Iosefa, Brandon Bolden, and James White available for the game against the Jets on Sunday. Montee Ball is on the practice squad.
New England lost its top backs to injured reserve when Dion Lewis suffered a torn ACL Nov. 8 against the Redskins and LeGarrette Blount injured his hip against the Texans Dec. 13.
Jackson, an 11-year veteran and three-time Pro Bowler, has rushed for 11,388 yards and 68 touchdowns. He also has 460 career receptions for 3,663 yards and 9 TDs. He was released after rushing for 707 yards and 6 TDs with the Falcons in 2014.
Jackson has been to the postseason just once — during his rookie season in 2004.
Martin to IR
Linebacker Eric Martin became the latest Patriot to head to season-ending injured reserve after he landed there Monday.
Martin is the 16th Patriot sent to IR this season, including center Bryan Stork, who was on short-term, designated to return IR.
Martin, who has spent the season flip-flopping between the 53-man roster and the practice squad, showed up on the injury report last week with a concussion. He finished the season with four games played, a pair of special teams tackles, and perhaps the block of the year on Danny Amendola’s long punt return vs. the Giants Nov. 15.
With Sunday’s win over the Titans, Belichick moved to 55-11 in December during his time in New England. His .833 winning percentage is tops in NFL annals among coaches with one team. San Francisco’s George Seifert (27-6, .818) is second . . . With a pair of scoring strikes, Tom Brady reached 35 for the fourth time in his career, tying Peyton Manning for the all-time record. Brady had 50 in 2007, 36 in 2010, and 39 in 2011 . . . White has five TDs in his last three games, three via the ground and two via the air.