Damien Harris had a knack for gashing the Buffalo Bills during his four-year tenure with the New England Patriots, but now he’s thrilled to be joining his former rival.
The Bills snagged the 26-year-old running back in free agency, adding some much-needed size to a rushing game that has largely lacked a power back. Though Harris had been a thorn in Buffalo’s side for much of the past three seasons, he shared an upbeat message with Bills fans after this week’s signing.
“LETS GO BUFFALO,” Harris tweeted, adding a pair of heart emoji and rounding out the message with the hashtag #BillsMafia.
Damien Harris Adds Boost to Bills Backfield
After a light rookie season in which he only appeared in two games and had four carries, Harris had something of a breakout season in 2020 with 691 rushing yards and five touchdowns. He topped that the next season, racking up 929 rushing yards and 15 touchdowns as part of the league’s most effective ground attack alongside quarterback Cam Newton.
The Patriots running back struggled with injuries last season, appearing in only 11 games but still racking up 462 rushing yards with three touchdowns.
Some of his best performances came against the Bills. In four games against the Bills over the course of the last three seasons, Harris had 57 carries for 364 yards and scored five touchdowns.
As ESPN’s Alaina Getzenberg noted, Harris had originally expressed a desire to return to New England following the team’s season finale loss to the Bills.
“If they want to have me, I’d love to be back,” Harris said. “But at the end of the day, I know this is a business. The organization is going to do what they feel is best for them and I have to do what I feel is best for me.”
The 5-foot-11, 213-pound Harris will fill a need for size in the Bills backfield, an area that general manager Brandon Beane said the team would address in the offseason.
“We’ll continue to add there and look for different skill sets,” Beane said on March 16, via ESPN. “Totally aware we’ve got a couple of guys that are around 200 [pounds]. Yeah, we’ll probably add somebody that’s a little heavier than that at some point between now and training camp.”
Bills Lost Previous Starting Running Back
Harris could have the chance to play a significant role with the Bills after the team’s previous No. 1 running back left in free agency. Devin Singletary signed with the Houston Texans on a one-year deal worth up to $3.75 million, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported on March 20.
Singletary had a productive season in 2022, rushing for 819 yards and five touchdowns while adding another 38 receptions for 280 yards and a touchdown. Rookie James Cook saw an increasing share of carries as the season went on, while running back Nyheim Hines joined at the trade deadline and served mostly as a return specialist.
Hines could play a larger role in the running game next year thanks to another offseason addition for the Bills. Former New Orleans Saints wide receiver Deonte Harty signed with the Bills last week, adding a potential return specialist who could free up Hines to see more time in the backfield.