FOXBORO, Mass. – The New England Patriots have reached an agreement with unrestricted free agent running back Raymont Harris today to a two-year contract. The financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed. Subsequently, the Patriots also announced the release of running back Terry Allen.
Harris, 29, is a five-year NFL veteran. He entered the league as a fullback, but was used as a fullback, halfback and in single back sets during his four seasons with the Bears. The 6-foot, 230-pound back is a versatile player who is an accomplished rusher and receiver. In five NFL seasons, he has started 38 of 51 games and has rushed for 2,473 yards and 16 touchdowns on 671 attempts (3.7 avg.). He also has caught 110 passes for 719 yards and a touchdown. He set career-highs with the Bears in 1997 when he rushed for 1,033 yards and 10 touchdowns on 275 carries carries (3.8 avg.), while starting 13 games. He became just the seventh running back in franchise history to rush for over 1,000 yards in a season. He started the first three games at fullback before making the transition to running back against the Patriots in Week 4. He started 10 of the next 11 games at running back.
He was originally drafted by the Chicago Bears in the fourth round of the 1994 NFL draft. As a rookie, he started 11 of 16 games at fullback and rushed for 464 yards and a touchdown on 123 carries. That year, he had just four rushing attempts fail to reach the line of scrimmage, which was the best among NFL backs with at least 100 carries that season. He started in the season opener vs. Minnesota, but broke his right collarbone after a 4-yard reception on the second play from scrimmage. He missed the remainder of the season due to the injury. In 1996, he started 10 of 12 games for the Bears and led the team with 748 yards rushing on 194 carries. He became the first Bear running back to record a 100-yard rushing and receiving game in the same season since Neal Anderson in 1987. He signed with the Green Bay Packers as an unrestricted free agent in 1998. He played in eight games, including three starts, for the Packers and rushed for 228 yard on 79 carries. He also had 10 receptions for 68 yards.
Allen, 31, was signed by the Patriots on Aug. 27, 1999. He started the final 13 games of the season for the Patriots and led the team with 896 yards and eight touchdowns on 254 carries. He added another touchdown and 125 yards on 14 receptions. In eight NFL seasons, he has compiled 7,777 yards and 68 touchdowns on 1,938 carries. He has also caught 186 passes for 1,526 yards and six touchdowns. The 5-foot-11-inch, 185-pound back is a four-time, 1,000-yard rusher and one-time Pro Bowler. He was originally drafted by the Minnesota Vikings in the ninth round of the 1990 NFL draft. He suffered a preseason knee injury and missed his entire rookie season. He had his first 1,000-yard season in 1992 when he gained 1,201 yards and 13 touchdowns on 266 carries (4.5 avg.). He signed with the Washington Redskins as a free agent on June 15, 1995 and had two consecutive 1,300-yard seasons, including career-highs of 1,353 yards and 21 touchdowns for the Redskins in 1996.