Veteran running back Leon Washington is expected to make most of his contributions on special teams. However, the free agent acquisition is ready to step up elsewhere if needed.
"Ever since I was a rookie, I was always a team player. That's been my main focus. Knowing I could so many different things well -- running the ball, catching the ball, returning kicks, (I) even made tackles (on special teams) sometimes in my career. That's the same approach I have here - coming in, helping the team out the best way I can."At the very least, Washington will likely shore up the team's anemic kick return unit. His eight career kick return touchdowns have him tied with Josh Cribbs for the NFL's all-time record. His arrival will also spare Devin McCourty, a very important cog in the team's defense, from any additional injury risk returning kicks.
Stuck behind Marshawn "Beast Mode" Lynch in Seattle, Washington played almost exclusively on return units for the Seahawks. However, the seven year veteran was a valuable third down back previously during his time with the (hated) Jets. With Danny Woodhead gone to the Chargers, talented but injury-prone Shane Vereen is slated to fill that role this season. An injury to Vereen would immediately bump Washington up the depth chart into a important role in the team's passing offense.
While Washington would love to play big snaps for the offense this year, he seems to be comfortable with whatever role the team gives him.
"Obviously, I'm a competitor and want to be on the football field, want to be out there and help the team out as much as I can. But not really - we won a bunch of games when I was in Seattle, being a team player is the most important thing."It's an attitude that will suit Washington well in the "Do Your Job" culture of the Patriots.
"You watch this organization from afar, you see how well they do things here," he said. "It's a winning organization. They believe in winning, they believe in competing. "The most important thing that I love, that I've seen so far, is everybody is all about the team. Everybody is going to do whatever they do to help the team win. That's impressive, watching it from afar. Everything when they guys come out and compete, hear them talking to the media, hear guys talking in the weight room, everything is all about the team."