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Patriots Reportedly Bringing Back Former Baseball Player

A New England Patriots helmet sitting on the bench.

FOXBORO, MA - DECEMBER 24: A New England Patriots helmet during the first half of the game between the New England Patriots and the Buffalo Bills at Gillette Stadium on December 24, 2017 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

This is a big week for football-turned-baseball-turned-football players. While the Jacksonville Jaguars are seeing if Tim Tebow can play tight end after his stint in the New York Mets farm system, the New England Patriots have signed a familiar face at running back: Tyler Gaffney.

Gaffney, a 2014 sixth-round pick by the Carolina Panthers out of Stanford, signed with the Patriots that summer after being waived by Carolina due to a training camp knee injury. While he never saw playing time during three seasons, bouncing on and off the practice squad and injured reserve, he does have two Super Bowl rings with the team.

Gaffney signed with the Jaguars in 2017, but was placed on injured reserve that August. The following March, he announced his retirement from football after numerous injuries. The three-year baseball letterwinner at Stanford had been drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2012, and in 2018, he joined the franchise's minor league affiliate Bradenton Marauders. In 89 total games between Single-A and Double-A ball, he hit .244/.353/.388, hitting six home runs and knocking in 36 runs. He played well for the A-ball Marauders but struggled, hitting under .200 with the Double-A Altoona Curve. He retired from baseball after that season.

Now, he's trying to get back into the NFL. After a brief 2020 stint with the San Francisco 49ers practice squad, he has signed with the Patriots for a second go-around.

Tyler Gaffney was a dynamic playmaker at Stanford. As a senior, he ran for 1,709 yards and 21 touchdowns, adding another score as a receiver out of the backfield. For his college career, he finished with 2,500 rushing yards and 33 scores, with 3,764 total yards from scrimmage. He made USA Today's All-American Second-Team, and was Second-Team All-Pac-12 as a senior in 2013, winning the conference championship game MVP award. We'll see if he can finally make a dent in the pros during this second shot in the NFL. [

Another professional baseball player headed to an NFL roster: The #Patriots are signing RB Tyler Gaffney, source said, who most recently spent time with the #49ers, #Jaguars and in the #Pirates farm system. First Tim Tebow on the Jags, now Gaffney back in the NFL on the Pats.

— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) May 20, 2021

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