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Cowboys' Tony Romo: DeMarco Murray asked me to take a pay cut


by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(7:44 pm ET) Eagles running back DeMarco Murray was really hoping to remain with the Cowboys this offseason. So much so, he asked quarterback Tony Romo to take a pay cut to remain with the team, Romo said on 105.3 The Fan in Dallas on Tuesday, per the Dallas Morning News.

"DeMarco ended up asking me, 'Why don't you take a pay cut?' I said, 'I will. I would take a pay cut to go do this,'" Romo said. "I was like, 'They're going to restructure me.' That's the same thing in some ways, just for the salary cap purposes. He was like, 'OK, now we're back to being friends again.' I would take $5 million less if meant getting him back.

"He knew that. It was just funny how he was literally worried about that part of it for a week. I'm like, 'That's not the reason.' I'm like, 'Obviously I'll restructure. I would even take a pay cut.' He was like, 'OK, we can be friends again.' It's amazing what you think about in those moments."


Report: RB Jacquizz Rodgers signs with Bears


by Dave Peters | CBSSports.com
(5:03 pm ET) After visiting wth the Bears on Tuesday, running back Jacquizz Rodgers has signed a one-year contract with the team, according to NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport.

Rodgers, formerly with the Falcons for four seasons, has totaled 1,116 yards rushing, 1,104 yards receiving and 10 total totuchdowns in his career. 


Report: Stevan Ridley visiting Dolphins Tuesday


by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(12:57 pm ET) Free-agent running back Stevan Ridley is visiting the Dolphins Tuesday, the Miami Herald reports.

Ridley spent his first four seasons with the Patriots but struggled in 2014, rushing for just 340 yards and two touchdowns on 94 carries. He did rack up a career-high 1,263 rushing yards and 12 touchdowns in 2012. The running back underwent surgery to repair a torn ACL and MCL in November.


Lions' Caldwell expects Theo Riddick to have large role in 2015


by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(12:19 pm ET) Lions coach Jim Caldwell expects running back Theo Riddick to help boost a rushing attack that ranked 28th in 2014 and cut Reggie Bush after the season, MLive.com reports.

"We try and give (the ball) to the guys who are going to do something with it, and I think he's going to be one of those guys who's going to force us to give him the ball more," Caldwell said last week at the NFL owners meetings. "I think you're really going to see him come along."

Riddick rushed for 51 yards on 20 carries in 2014 and added 316 yards and four touchdowns on 34 catches.

"I can't tell you he's going to carry the ball 50 more times, or I can't tell you he's going to get the ball thrown to him 30 more times, until we have a chance to work through this gauntlet. Know what I mean?" Caldwell said. "When we get to the end of the gauntlet, then maybe I can give you a little more of a view. But I'm never going to tell you, 'Hey, we expect this guy to do this or that.' What role he plays, how much he's going to get it, kind of depends on how well we move the ball and how many opportunities we get, what kind of game it is, are we playing great defense, that kind of thing.

"But I will say that he's going to improve. He has all the qualities. Here's the thing -- if you're smart, if you're tough, if you're disciplined, if you have a great work ethic, there's improvement ahead. And he has all those things. So I think he's going to improve, and I think he's going to force us to get him the ball a little bit more in some situations."


Steelers RB DeAngelo WIlliams says signing was easy decision


by Dave Peters | CBSSports.com
(3/30/2015) After playing his first nine seasons with the Panthers, running back DeAngelo Williams signed a two-year, $4 million contract with the Steelers this offseason. Among his many thoughts on the signing, he called it an easy decision, according to the Sporting News.

“I didn’t know they wanted me. I had never been on a visit before,” Williams said. “I was with the same organization for nine years. When I got the call and they said, 'hey we want to bring you in for a visit' I took it as that. Had they said we wanted to bring you in for a signing I would have had a different mindset. I had no idea what was going to transpire when I got here.”

Williams added that he is willing to do whatever it takes to get the team to the next level.

“It’s the opportunity to take maybe one or two reps or whatever it takes to make this team better,” Williams said. “That is what I will do. I want to make it to a Super Bowl and win it. I know this team has that potential and they can do it.

“Coming here was an easy decision. This is a Super Bowl contending team. Every veteran out there, veteran or rookie, they want to go to the Super Bowl and win it and get the best opportunity. I think the best opportunity is here in Pittsburgh.”

Williams has rushed for 6,846 yards on 1,432 carries with 46 rushing touchdowns in his career.


Panthers sign RB Jordan Todman


by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(3/30/2015) The Panthers have signed running back Jordan Todman to a one-year deal, the team announced Monday.

"Jordan is a veteran running back who has had some success in the league," coach Ron Rivera said in a statement. "We think he has some return skills and we are always looking to be good in that area. At running back, he brings versatility. He is stout and physical enough to run the ball up inside, but he's got the quickness and speed to get outside to the corner."

Todman racked up 186 yards on just 32 carries with the Jaguars in 2014 while adding 198 yards on 25 receptions and scoring twice. He also averaged 25.6 yards per return on 38 kickoff returns last season.


C.J. Anderson enters offseason as Broncos top RB


by Shawn Krest | CBSSports.com
(3/29/2015) Broncos coach Gary Kubiak declared that C.J. Anderson was the team's starting running back entering OTAs. 

"He made a big jump as a player, and I think he's earned the right to walk in to the offseason program -- the OTAs -- and line up as our starter," Kubiak said, per DenverBroncos.com. "But he's got to continue to earn it on a daily basis. I think he's shown he has all the ability to be an excellent starter in this league, so we're really looking forward to working with him."

Anderson rushed for 849 yards and eight touchdowns last season, most coming late in the season, after Montee Ball and Ronnie Hillman went down to injury. 

"All those guys are young. I think all three of those guys ... have all kind of had their little spurts of success with the club when they've had their opportunity," Kubiak said. "But they're all young. Who's going to be the bell cow, who's going to play every down, who's going to be the three-down player, they've got to sort that out. C.J. has shown the flashes of doing that."


Packers want to keep RB Eddie Lacy fresh this season


by Dave Peters | CBSSports.com
(3/28/2015) Packers head coach Mike McCarthy is working on ways to keep running back Eddie Lacy fresh this season, reports the Journal Sentinel.

McCarthy had talks with Lacy at the end of the last two seasons talking about his number of snaps and what he expected of the running back.

"I really felt that last year's conversation was more important than this year's, the ability to make a huge jump from Year One to Two, being a three-down player, that was something we stressed from Day One, and I thought he delivered," McCarthy said at the NFL owners meetings this week.

The head coach liked the way that the team used Lacy last season, limiting his snaps early in the year before increasing them as the season wore on.

"Maybe not run attempts," McCarthy said of hitting the target he set. "But I thought we were really smart the way we used him....I thought his pass protection he made a huge jump, and his ability to play out of the backfield.

"Eddie has excellent hands, and just his understand and his feel with Aaron, he definitely made a step."

In his first two seasons in the NFL, the 24-year-old has 2,317 yards rushing and 20 touchdowns. He has also added 77 receptions for 684 yards and four touchdown catches. 


Redskins' Thompson, Redd to compete for third-down back role


by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(3/27/2015) Redskins coach Jay Gruden said this week at the NFL owners' meetings running back Chris Thompson will get the first chance to secure third-down responsibilities, according to The Washington Post. Silas Redd will also get consideration for the role of third-down back.

“Chris [Thompson] came in last year at the end and did some things, and we’re hoping that he can come back and stay healthy in the offseason and give us a little jolt back there,” Gruden said. “And Silas Redd will get every chance to do some things also.”

Although, the Redskins could look to bring in some competition before training camp begins.

“I also think that at the running back position in the draft, there’s a ton of them,” Gruden said. “It’s a very deep running back draft in my opinion, and we’re excited to add another piece at some point, hopefully. We have seven picks. Hopefully one of them will be a running back, or a free agent to compete. There are some good free agents that haven’t been signed yet. But, giving Chris an opportunity, Silas, Alfred (Morris), that’s where it starts. And we’ll add some more later on for competition.”


Giants RB Shane Vereen will be more than third-down back


by Dave Peters | CBSSports.com
(3/26/2015) Giants running back Shane Vereen is being viewed as much more than just a third-down running back, according to nj.com.

The team is excited about his ability to catch passes out of the backfield, but he'll be relied on to do more than that.

"I see him in that regard as a pass receiver coming out of the backfield, a pass protector, a guy who runs the ball in the three-wide offense in the run game, if you will, which is very prevalent today in our sport," coach Tom Coughlin said at the NFL Annual Meetings this week. "So I see him in that regard."

Last season the Giants did not have one receiving touchdown by a running back. Vereen, formerly of the Patriots, had three receiving touchdowns out of the backfield last year.

"Well, you know what [Vereen] can do. Quite frankly, it's something from an attack standpoint we've had some success with, but not to the extent that he has," Coughlin said. "When you look at Vereen, a lot of the [Tom] Brady hookup with Vereen was the ball was almost automatically going to him. First down, if it was zone coverage, they were dropping the ball down and he would scoot. So we know that. Will we open it up to more parts of it?"

The 26-year-old has 907 yards rushing and seven touchdowns on the ground, adding 107 receptions for 1,023 yards and seven touchdowns through the air in four years. 


Sean Payton: C.J. Spiller the 'most explosive player on the field'


by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(3/26/2015) Saints coach Sean Payton is thrilled to have landed running back C.J. Spiller, who will team with Mark Ingram and Khiry Robinson in one of the league's top backfields.

"I think we expected Spiller to be somewhere else with a higher number. But it all worked out," Payton told The Advocate.

Spiller joined the Saints on a four-year, $16 million deal.

“His cutup is unbelievable,” Payton said of Spiller. ”And I’m not talking about last season because I think it became challenging, but you go back a couple of years and start looking at his screen reel, a sweep reel, a return reel.

“So when you watch his film you think of a lot of things he can do. He’s physical, he’s the most explosive player on the field a lot of times when you’re watching him. … So he’s an exciting player that clearly heading into free agency there wasn’t any thought about and then after that first rush there was some interest and I think to his agent’s credit they looked at it from a how he was going to be used standpoint, the system, the offense and wanting to be a part of it and we feel the same way.”


Charles Clay: 'They don't want me coming off the field'


by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(3/26/2015) New Bills tight end Charles Clay expects to be an every-down player in 2015. "They don’t want me coming off the field," he told the Buffalo News.

"They want to use me in a lot of different positions, moving around a bit, which is something I feel very comfortable doing. Dating back all the way to high school, playing running back and getting to college and playing so many different positions and then coming here to Miami and playing a lot. It’s something I feel very comfortable doing so whatever they ask me to do, I’m willing to do it, I’m going to work at it and try to master it. I’m excited. I can’t wait."

Clay signed a five-year, $38 million contract with Buffalo after spending his first four seasons with the Dolphins.


Eagles to get RB Darren Sproles on the field more


by Dave Peters | CBSSports.com
(3/25/2015) Eagles head coach Chip Kelly told reporters at the NFL meetings on Wednesday that he would like to get running back Darren Sproles on the field more often in 2015, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.

The Eagles recently signed running backs DeMarco Murray and Ryan Mathews in free agency.

Sproles came over from the Saints after beginning his career with the Chargers. Over his 10-year career, he has rushed for 2,550 yards and 17 touchdowns. As an option as a receiver out of the backfield, he has 418 receptions for 3,768 yards and 27 touchdowns. 


Panthers to employ two-back system


by Dave Peters | CBSSports.com
(3/25/2015) Panthers head coach Ron Rivera said Wednesday that the team would like to continue to use a two-back system this season, according to ESPN.

Ideally the team would like for Jonathan Stewart to get 15 carries while eight or more carries would go to another running back.

“The thing you’ve got to be careful about in this league is you can’t rely on one player at one position,’’ Rivera said during the NFC coaches breakfast. “Running back has definitely been proven that you’ve got to have a good two-back tandem.

“And that’s what we’re looking for. We’re looking for that complement to Jonathan.’’


Tomsula: Reggie Bush can be 'an every-down back'


by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(3/25/2015) The 49ers didn't sign running back Reggie Bush to be "a gadget guy," coach Jim Tomsula told reporters, per the San Jose Mercury News. "Reggie Bush is a running back, and I’m really excited about Reggie joining the crew."

Added Tomsula: "Reggie can be an every down back. He’s done that in the NFL, OK? I don’t know [that] we’re looking that way. Reggie is a very good space player, OK? Reggie can, it’s well documented, his skil set on third down. Reggie, I mean, he’s a running back.”

Bush joins Carlos Hyde and Kendall Hunter in the backfield. The 30-year-old Bush was released after two seasons with the Lions.


Payton: Pass protection will be key for RB Travaris Cadet


by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(3/25/2015) Saints coach Sean Payton said running back Travaris Cadet, now with the Patriots, is a "work in progress with regards to protection," reports ESPN.com. Payton noted Cadet is a converted receiver who hasn't played running back long.

"He’ll know who to have, but he just hasn’t had the snaps or the experience that so many of the other running backs have," Payton said of Cadet, who hopes to replace Shane Vereen as New England's pass-catching back.

Payton estimated Cadet was asked to pass protect only 10 to 12 times last season, the report said. But Payton believes Cadet can develop into a solid pass protector.

"He’s tough enough, he’ll know who to have, [so] that will be a technique and an ongoing skill and development [thing]," Payton said. "We felt like he definitely could become a protector because what keeps guys from being that third-down back is they don’t know who to block. That’s the first thing that keeps them from playing that position. They scan and see the guy that’s free; the problem with that is when the guy they are supposed to block doesn’t come and they’re in the backfield still and you have a flare-control issue – he’s supposed to be out in the route but he’s floating in the backfield before he leaves, it doesn’t work. So he’ll know who to block, it will just be a matter of technique.”


Mike Zimmer: 'No plans' to trade Adrian Peterson


by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(3/25/2015) Vikings coach Mike Zimmer said he expects running back Adrian Peterson to play for the team this year despite Peterson's agent saying recently his client wants out of Minnesota.

"I'm not going to speculate on what he wants or doesn't want. He's under contract for three more years with us and that's why you sign these contracts, and why you get these big bonuses," Zimmer said, per NFL.com. "We're planning on him being back. We have no plans to trade Adrian."

Peterson, 30, spent all but one game last season on the commissoner's exempt list due to his child abuse case. He reportedly is upset the Vikings didn't do enough to get him back on the field.


Owner: DeMarco Murray better fit than LeSean McCoy


by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(3/25/2015) Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie said the team traded running back LeSean McCoy to the Bills and replaced him with DeMarco Murray because Murray better fits Chip Kelly's system, reports Eagles 24/7.

"We’ve been talking about the asset value of LeSean for a long time because he wasn’t the style of runner that Chip prefers, but a great player," Lurie said.

"Getting players that fit more of what he’s all about in terms of their style of play. LeSean McCoy is a great running back -- all-time franchise leader. Great guy in every way. To maximize his power spread offense, he’s always admired the one-cut runners. That’s what he admired.

"You’ve gotta let a coach try to bring in the players that fit best what he’s all about to maximize what he’s trying to accomplish. It really boils down to that. You have a decision as an owner: Do you want to fight that? Or do want to adopt it? I went all out to try and get Chip as the coach, and I’m really happy we did. He’s got a great potential future, and I’m happy to be able to provide him the resources to be able to maximize what he’s all about."

The Eagles also signed running back Ryan Mathews in free agency, who is closer in style to Murray than McCoy.


Del Rio: Raiders Latavius Murray and Trent Richardson to compete


by Dave Peters | CBSSports.com
(3/24/2015) Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio expects Latavius Murray and Trent Richardson to compete for the starting running back spot on the team, per ESPN.

"I think it will be a competitive situation," Del Rio said.

Del Rio also spoke about the fact that he is encouraged by Richardson's potential.

"What I saw when we brought him in and talked to him was a young man that was hungry to kind of leave that portion of his career behind him and start fresh," Del Rio said. "My challenge to him was, 'Look, I don't want you to worry about anything other than coming in here and competing your butt off every day. Come in here and be a great teammate. Come in here and find a role on special teams. Come in here and just grind every day with the hunger you had as a freshman at Alabama.'"


Chargers Mike McCoy: RB Branden Oliver can be workhorse


by Dave Peters | CBSSports.com
(3/24/2015) After losing running back Ryan Mathews to free agency, Chargers head coach Mike McCoy believes that Branden Oliver can be a workhorse back for the team, per ESPN.

“Ryan was very unique,” McCoy said. “He’s different than what we have now. But as that physical guy, yes, you can say Branden is that physical guy we have now.”

Oliver, an undrafted free agent in 2014, led the Chargers in rushing last season with 582 yards rushing and three touchdowns. He was named Pepsi AFC offensive rookie of the week twice last year. 

McCoy went on to say that Oliver will benefit from the return of Danny Woodhead and teammate Donald Brown in 2015. Both players missed time in 2014.

“We can win with the three guys we have now,” McCoy said. “I believe that. We’re going to play them all. So, they’re all going to play in their own way, and we’ll see what happens through the draft and the rest of free agency with what’s available.”

The 23-year-old ball carrier signed a four-year contract with the team last season.


Vikings' Mike Zimmer still wants Adrian Peterson back in 2015


by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(3/24/2015) Though Adrian Peterson's agent said it's in his client's best interest to leave Minnesota, Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer is still looking forward to the running back's return in 2015. 

"Really, we are just looking forward to getting him back and getting back with his teammates and playing for us," Zimmer said on PFT Live. "I can’t speculate on what other people say. All I know is how I feel and where we feel as an organization.”

Zimmer is confident and hopeful that at the end of the day the two sides can come to an understanding resulting in Peterson staying in Minnesota. Peterson's camp has been lobbying for a trade. 

“One of the things that everybody in the world remembers is Adrian Peterson as a Minnesota Viking," Zimmer said. "When he gets a chance to get into the Hall of Fame, when he gets to go in there, he’s going to want to go in with how everyone represented him and remembered him.  I just feel that’s how it’s going to work out.”


Dolphins' Hickey doesn't rule out bringing back Knowshon Moreno


by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(3/24/2015) Running back Knowshon Moreno was unable to provide much of anything for the Dolphins a year ago thanks to an ACL tear in Week 6. 

While the Dolphins haven't been expected to re-sign Moreno, it's not out of the question. According to the Miami Herald, general manager Dennis Hickey said the Dolphins are still open to the possibility of bringing Moreno back to the team. 

Moreno signed a one-year, $3 million deal in 2014. He's now an unrestricted free agent. 

Moreno hasn't been working out at the Dolphins' team facility though Hickey said the organization has been keeping tabs on his rehab and recovery. If Moreno is still available on the free-agent market in the early summer, it's possible the Dolphins to bring him in if they're unable to select a quality runner in the draft. 


Giants' Rashad Jennings said offense will be 'dominant' in 2015


by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(3/24/2015) Running back Rashad Jennings believes the Giants have the tools to be one of the NFL's premier offenses in 2015. 

Citing the arrival of Shane Vereen, return of Victor Cruz and emergence of Odell Beckham, Jennings, via the New York Daily News, said he's optimistic that the offense will cause plenty of problems this season. 

"I think we're going to have a dominant offense," Jennings said. "Eli [Manning] is really comfortable in the offense now — being able to control a lot from the line of scrimmage."

The Giants started slow offensively a year ago but caught fire down the stretch when Manning and Beckham began hooking up for big plays. The Giants scored 24 or more points in their final six games of the 2014 season. 


Jack Del Rio wants Raiders to offer stronger rushing attack


by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(3/24/2015) In Raiders coach Jack Del Rio's mind, quarterback Derek Carr was asked to do too much in his rookie season. 

Carr threw the ball 599 times and completed 348 of those passes for 3,270 yards, 21 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. Now that Del Rio is at the helm, he's looking to run the ball a lot more to balance things out. 

"I thought it was all about Derek last year," Del Rio said, via the San Francisco Chronicle. "I want to be able to run the ball, play good defense."

The Raiders are likely to rely on Latavius Murray to be the feature back now that Maurice Jones-Drew has retired and Darren McFadden has left for Dallas. Del Rio believes that a balanced attack should open the game up more for Carr in his second season. 

"If we do things around him, he really has a chance to flourish," Del Rio said. "He is really accurate. He has a huge upside."


Bills' Rex Ryan: Bryce Brown needs to hold on to the football


by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(3/24/2015) Bills running back Bryce Brown is officially on notice. 

Speaking at the NFL owners meetings on Tuesday, coach Rex Ryan talked a bit about his deep running back group that features LeSean McCoy, Fred Jackson and Anthony Dixon. The fourth running back in that stable?

"[T]he fast dude. Brown is it?" Ryan said, via ESPN.com. "I'm not gonna learn his name until he holds on to the football. And if he does, he'll have a chance to play. But until we feel comfortable with it, he won't."

It should be noted that Brown only fumbled once in 2014 with the Bills, though he appeared in just seven games. He didn't fumble at all in 2013 but coughed the ball up four times in 2012 with the Eagles. 

Ryan has a reputation of being beloved by his players so this may not irk Brown too much once they become better acquainted. But if Brown wants a shot at playing time, or even a 53-man roster spot, he'll need to prove his fumbling ways are a part of the past. 


 
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