Patriots reportedly sign former USFL running back CJ Marable


Marable had 525 rushing yards and 235 receiving yards in the USFL.

The Patriots reportedly signed former USFL running back CJ Marable. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)
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Following weeks of free agent visits to address the position, the Patriots reportedly added a running back Friday night.

It isn’t one of the big names available like Leonard Fournette or Ezekiel Elliott, who left Foxborough without contracts after their visits. Instead, New England signed former USFL back C.J. Marable, KPRC’s Aaron Wilson reported.

Some believed the Patriots might chase a bigger name back to create a 1-2 punch with Rhamondre Stevenson. It appears Bill Belichick and company have opted for a versatile depth piece instead, at least for now.

Marable rushed for over 500 yards in the USFL and added 235 yards receiving. In three seasons at Coastal Carolina, he accumulated 2,691 rushing yards, 703 receiving yards, and 41 touchdowns. He’ll enter into a running back room that also includes Pierre Strong Jr., Ty Montgomery, and Kevin Harris, among others.

Unless New England still intends to sign another running back, it appears Stevenson will get the majority of the workload behind Mac Jones with others mixed in situationally.

None of the Patriots’ running backs had success on Thursday night against the Texans, albeit behind a weakened offensive line. Malik Cunningham led all New England rushers when he came in at quarterback, gaining 34 yards on the ground. Strong was the most effective back with six carries for 21 yards. Harris had one seven-yard run, but netted just three yards on his other seven carries. He finished with 10 yards.

Marable might be able to help out behind Stevenson, particularly if he proves himself as an effective part of the passing game. He also has experience returning kicks.

The USFL-to-NFL jump isn’t uncommon. Just last season, KaVontae Turpin signed with the Dallas Cowboys after a USFL stint in which he won MVP of the league. He didn’t catch on as a wide receiver in year one but played a consistent role on special teams, returning punts and kicks.

Marable could be available as early as New England’s next preseason game on Aug. 19 against the Green Bay Packers.

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