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Jeff Demps to focus on track, not New England Patriots

Former University of Florida track star and football player Jeff Demps arrived with the New England Patriots amid some fanfare. The team guaranteed him $211,000 to sign last August, and he wound up making roughly $400,000 while spending the season on injured reserve.

At the time, it was believed Demps, a silver medalist on the U.S. 4x100 relay team, would make football his priority. Those plans have changed.

Demps indicated to Sports Talk Florida that he's going after his track career. He said he would join the Patriots midway through the 2013 season. Demps was asked how he would explain this to Patriots coach Bill Belichick.

"Listen Coach, I want to do both, but in order for me to get to where I want to be on the track-and-field side, it'll take a full year of preparation," Demps said, via ESPNBoston.com. "And after the season, if you guys are willing to let me come back, you know, probably midseason, and work out and train and get ready for the season, I'll be able to do that. If not, then I guess I'll just focus on running."

Belichick didn't say much when asked about Demps last week at the NFL Annual Meeting in Phoenix, but the Patriots are ready if Demps gives up on football. They signed Leon Washington to help on returns. Demps doesn't seemed too worried.

"If I'm not able to do football anymore, it's kind of like I'm just opening up another chapter of my life, and it's on the track-and-field side," he said.

It's safe to say Demps wasn't making statements like that last August, before he signed with the Patriots.

Follow Gregg Rosenthal on Twitter @greggrosenthal.

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