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Patriots sign former Eagles, Panthers RB Kenjon Barner

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The Patriots have a punt returner now.

Philadelphia Eagles v New England Patriots Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images

The New England Patriots will replace running back Jeremy Hill, who was placed on the injured reserve with a torn ACL, with veteran running back Kenjon Barner, per ESPN’s Mike Reiss.

The 5’9, 195 pound Barner entered the NFL out of the University of Oregon as a sixth round pick in the 2013 NFL Draft by the Carolina Panthers. Barner was traded to the Philadelphia Eagles in 2014 to reunite him with his college coach, Chip Kelly, and spent the next three seasons with the Eagles.

Barner spent the 2017 offseason with the Los Angeles Chargers before rejoining with the Eagles for the regular season. Barner returned three kicks for 73 yards against the Patriots in Super Bowl LII.

The Panthers and Barner reunited for the 2018 offseason, but the running back didn’t make the opening roster.

Over his entire career, Barner has 317 rushing yards and 3 touchdowns, along with 127 receiving yards. He also has 30 punt returns and 20 kick returns, so he should be active on the Patriots special teams.

Barner joins the recently signed Bennie Fowler and Corey Coleman as the Patriots turned over three roster spots after the season opener. Barner should be considered the favorite to contribute on special teams as a punt returner, while Fowler could become the team’s slot receiver until Julian Edelman returns. Coleman is a low-risk signing with the highest upside, that has the longest road to see the field.