Burkhead excited to put his varied skill set on display with Patriots

Burkhead excited to put his varied skill set on display with Patriots

FOXBORO -- Rex Burkhead was paying attention. 

After watching how the Patriots offense operates -- and specifically how they use their backs in a variety of ways -- he knew that he'd like to play for them. As a free agent this offseason, it didn't take long before the two sides agreed to a one-year deal where Burkhead will seemingly have an opportunity to show that he can be an effective running back, receiver and special teamer in the right system.

"It was very intriguing, of course, how they use [their running backs]," Burkhead said. "Split them out, use them in the backfield, just the multi-dimensional ways that they use them. What coach McDaniels does with offensive schemes, it's great, and I felt like it was a fit for me."

Burkhead's size (5-foot-10, 210 pounds) and his ability to catch makes him the biggest all-purpose back on the Patriots roster. Dion Lewis has proven over the course of the last two seasons that he can be effective when used between the tackles as well as when used as a receiver, but he doesn't carry with him the frame that Burkhead does.

The former Bengals special teamer and 2013 sixth-round pick out of Nebraska said that if his new club wanted to use him lined up wide or in the slot -- as Cincinnati did in the playoffs three seasons ago -- he would be comfortable doing that. 

"I grew up in Texas," he said with a smile. "We had 7-on-7s in the summers all the time. We had to play receiver. You can't hand the ball of there. Got comfortable with that.

"Just trying to be an all-purpose back. Being able to split out, catch passes out there is something I've always wanted to do."

Despite the presence of Lewis and James White on the roster, he should have the opportunity to do just that in New England. For a team that throws as much as the Patriots do, there will be in all likelihood enough targets to go around.

Report: Patriots special teams ace Slater visiting Steelers

Report: Patriots special teams ace Slater visiting Steelers

Patriots seven-time Pro Bowl special teamer Matthew Slater is in Pittsburgh on Saturday making a free-agent visit to the rival Steelers, according to an ESPN's Field Yates.

Slater, who turns 33 in September, has spent the past 10 seasons in a New England. The special teams captain and one of the leaders in the locker room signed a one-year, $1.8 million contract extension in 2016.

The Patriots lost special teamer Johnson Bademosi to the Texans in free agency on Friday but signed special teamers Brandon Bolden and Brandon King just before the free agency period began.

More to come...

Brady tests his 'Brady Bunch' knowledge on NPR

Brady tests his 'Brady Bunch' knowledge on NPR

Tom Brady has been making the media rounds lately with "Good Morning America" and "The Late Show with Stephen Colbert" appearances this past week to promote his "Tom vs. Time" series and TB12 Method book. On Saturday, Brady was a phone-in guest on NPR's "Wait, Wait...Don't Tell Me" for their "Not My Job" segment. 

Before a mostly cheering live audience in Hartford and after a discussion of the benefits and drawbacks - mostly drawbacks - of tomatoes and strawberries, plus an assessment of the intelligence of most defensive coordinators, Brady settled in to handle three questions about the world's second-most famous Bradys, the family from the classic sitcom - "The Brady Bunch".

Click here to listen and see how he did.