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Will Jeff Demps return to Bucs after finishing track and field season?

By Josh Katzowitz | NFL Writer

Which sport does Jeff Demps want to play? (USATSI)
Which sport does Jeff Demps want to play? (USATSI)

It seems as though former University of Florida running back Jeff Demps has had a tough time making up his mind about what he wants to be when he grows up.

After winning a silver medal in the 2012 London Olympics, Demps signed a free-agent deal with the Patriots, but after spending the entire 2012 football season on injured reserve, Demps changed his mind and said he'd focus his attention on professional track and field in 2013.

A month later, Demps was involved in the LeGarrette Blount deal that brought Demps to the Buccaneers, and late last week, his agent told the Tampa Bay Times that Demps still wants to play football. But it's not quite as simple as that, because Saturday, the Times reported Demps has been asked to run on the 4x100-meter relay team at the world championships next month in Moscow.

Assuming he will run, that means Demps couldn't return to the Buccaneers until they're well into their training camp and preseason schedule. But Demps and his agent, Daniel Rose, reportedly believe the team has the understanding he will finish the professional track season before he returns to football.

“Jeff is the kind of guy who sees things through to the end,” Rose told the paper. “And right now, he's running track. But we'll see what happens. He's in great shape. He works out five hours a day. He's being brought in for his speed, and we know he can run.”

The Buccaneers, in fact, have wanted Demps since his Florida days. They were outbid by the Patriots in 2012, and they traded Blount to get him this offseason. The team probably would prefer to see Demps in camp when it opens, but reportedly, they're OK with this arrangement for now.

And why would they be OK with it? Well, check out what Patriots director of player personnel Nick Caserio said after the Patriots signed him last year:

“Good with the ball, good speed, caught the ball OK, a little bit undersized. But they had some good offensive players [at Florida] -- he and [Chris] Rainey split some time so they kind of used them in different ways.”

Demps -- who would almost certainly be behind Doug Martin and Brian Leonard on the running back depth chart -- also could be used as kick returner. If, in fact, he decides he actually wants to return to football.

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