By: Ian Logue/
August 21, 2002

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In the event Anderson decides to come to New England it's hard to say what this will mean for the Pats current stable of runningbacks (FILE PHOTO)
FOXBORO, MA -- It appears Patriots head coach Bill Belichick may be thinking about bringing in another big addition to the New England offense.

Chris Mortensen and Len Pasquarelli of reported on Wednesday that the Patriots visited with free agent tailback Jamal Anderson earlier in the day, and that the Patriots are preparing a contract proposal with hopes of reaching an agreement with the eight-year veteran by the end of the week.

What role Anderson will play in the offense remains to be seen.  New England's current feature back is Antowain Smith who rushed for 1,157 yards and 12-touchdowns last season, but for the second straight year he showed up out of shape and failed the teams conditioning run.  Situational back J.R. Redmond has been injury prone, and Kevin Faulk has a history of fumbling the football.

Where will he fit in?

It's tough to say, but seeing Anderson in a Patriots uniform is certainly intriguing.

Anderson carried 1,329 times for 5,336 yards and 34 touchdowns in his eight seasons with the Atlanta Falcons, but has suffered a torn ACL in both knees and had been pondering leaving football and persuing careers in television and film.  He reportedly said last week he would only return to field for "the absolute right opportunity."

Playing for Belichick and having a chance to win a Lombardi Trophy may be just the opportunity he's looking for.

How much Anderson will be physically able to contribute remains the only other question.  He tore his ACL in his right knee in '99, returned in 2000 where he rushed for 1,024 yards, and then tore the ACL in his left knee in 2001.  But he has been working out in recent weeks and apparently feels as though he'd be able to return to the field.

Anderson is also a threat out of the backfield.  In 1998 he had 27 catches for 319-yards and 2-touchdowns, and in his last full season in 2000 he caught 42 balls for 382-yards.

Needless to say if he can return to form, he may be a good fit in New England's offense.


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