The New England Patriots may have found their new punt returner.
According to ESPN's Mike Reiss, the Patriots are expected to sign veteran running back Kenjon Barner, who previously worked out for the team. Barner would fill the team's last remaining roster spot after wide receivers Corey Coleman and Bennie Fowler were reportedly added Monday. The Boston Herald's Karen Guregian later confirmed the news.
Barner, 28, spent the last four seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles as a depth running back and punt returner. He signed with the Carolina Panthers earlier in the offseason before getting waived at the roster cut deadline.
As Rapoport said, it's a huge opportunity for Coleman to re-start his career catching passes from Tom Brady. The same was said when he was traded to the Bills before being released. Coleman was also scheduled to visit the Eagles, but the Patriots didn't let him go.
"The demand is that much higher now for other guys to step up, for other guys to get opportunities to make plays and earn their keep," Landry said. "In the first team meeting, coach Hue [Jackson] said you have to earn what you get. Other guys have opportunities to do that now."
The story said Callaway's emergence in camp could be a big reason the Browns shipped off Coleman. Callaway hasn't played since his college sophomore season because of a suspension at Florida. Higgins is also in the mix and played in 15 games with Cleveland last year.
Moving Duke Johnson to wide receiver is intriguing. The fourth-year player from the University of Miami, one of four players left from the 16 drafted by former general manager Ray Farmer in 2014 and 2015, led the Browns with 74 catches last year. Tight end Seth DeValve was second with 33 receptions.
“I think that trade [of Corey Coleman] has nothing to do with me,” Johnson said before practice on Aug. 6. “I guess the organization wanted to go in a different direction. Now, the next guy has to step up, regardless of who that might be.
“I enjoy wideout and have more fun playing wideout than I do running back. When the ball gets there, catching is catching. It depends on how much separation you create between yourself and the defender. It’s the same to me.”
Johnson has lined up at wide receiver more often in this training camp than in any of the previous three. But when it comes to meetings, he reports to the running backs room rather than congregating with the wide receivers, the story said. Given the crowd at WR, even after Coleman was traded, it seems likely the Browns want to keep Johnson at RB, but it looks like his receiving ability is going to be counted on just as much this season.