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Report: Pats host veteran RBs Grant, Hightower

According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the Patriots hosted veteran free agent running backs Ryan Grant and Tim Hightower on Friday.


The 29-year-old Grant spent the last five seasons with the Packers. His career numbers include 924 carries for 4,016 yards (4.3 avg.) with 25 touchdowns. He missed all but one game in 2010 with an injury, but returned last season to start 14 of 15 games play while putting up 559 yards on 134 attempts. He shared time with former postseason sensation James Starks in Green Bay in 2011.

Grant's best season came in 2009 when he rushed for 1,253 yards on 282 carries (4.4 avg.) with 11 touchdowns.

Hightower is 25 and spent last season in Washington after three seasons with the Cardinals. He's rushed for 2, 054 yards on 523 carries (3.9 avg.) with 24 touchdowns. His best season came in Arizona in when he had 736 yards on 153 attempts (4.8 avg.) with five touchdowns.

Hightower has never really been a lead back, having never had more than 153 carries in a season, but he has shown a nose for the end zone. He also had an impressive 63 catches for the Cardinals in 2009. He played in just five games in Washington last season due to an ACL injury from which he is still rehabbing.

With BenJarvus Green-Ellis having departed to the Bengals via free agency, the Patriots are very young and thin at running back at this point in the team building process. New England's tailback committee currently consists of second-year players Stevan Ridley (a third-round pick) and Shane Vereen (second round) as well as holdover change-of-pace back Danny Woodhead.

There is clearly an opportunity for a veteran runner to be added to the mix at this point and the two-time 1,000-yard rusher Grant would seem to be the best fit for the situation if he has much left in his tank. There is also a good chance that the Patriots would consider adding another running back via the draft, although a rookie wouldn't add a ton of insurance against the inexperience that comes with the limited track record that Ridley and Vereen bring to the table.

What do you think of the veteran running back visits to New England? Who would you rather see the team sign? Is another runner even needed at this point? Let us know with a comment below!

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