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Patriots sign veteran Steven Jackson after string of RB injuries

The three-time Pro Bowl running back has found a new home in New England.

Former St. Louis Rams and Atlanta Falcons running back Steven Jackson finally gets another shot at playoffs. The veteran free agent has signed a one-year deal with the New England Patriotsaccording to Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network.

Jackson confirmed the news Monday when he tweeted "I'm back." The Patriots officially announced the signing on Tuesday.

New England has struggled with injuries to key players all season, and the Patriots have lost a starter to injury in each of their last six games. The team lost running back Dion Lewis in November when he tore his ACL and placed LeGarrette Blount on injured reserve after he suffered a hip injury against the Houston Texans in Week 14, leaving James White and Brandon Bolden as the only healthy running backs on the roster.

Wide receiver Danny Amendola has been banged up and was lost in Week 15 against the Tennessee Titans. Earlier in the season, Julian Edelman was also lost and has been a constant on the injury report. The Patriots still somehow field both a competent passing and rushing offense as a whole, but they are clearly being strained.

Prior to Sunday's game, the Patriots elevated Joey Iosefa from the practice squad, and he led the team with 51 yards rushing in Week 15. White and Bolden have combined for 193 yards and two touchdowns on 62 carries.

Jackson has a history with Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels. The coach held the same position with the Rams in 2011, a year that Jackson rushed for 1,145 yards.

Jackson, 32, has been on the open market since the Falcons released him in February. He spent two seasons with Atlanta after signing a three-year, $12 million contract. Multiple injuries derailed his chances of getting anything done with Atlanta, a team he originally signed with for a chance to compete in the playoffs.

That didn't wind up happening, though. The Falcons were bad last season, finishing the year with just six wins, and Jackson's contributions didn't make much of a difference in the end. He totaled just six touchdowns and 707 yards on the ground in 2014.

Jackson's priority was to sign with a playoff team. In May, he told ESPN, "I don't want to go to a team that is rebuilding and needs me to come on and teach guys how to be professional. I've done that." Jackson made it clear that he wasn't done with professional football, starting and promoting a website and petition for fans to use to encourage their teams to abandon multi-back systems. In July, Jackson tweeted the Dallas Cowboys to offer his services in a creative way.

With the Patriots, Jackson will have a chance to play in the postseason. The Patriots are the reigning Super Bowl champions and they are currently the top seed in the AFC. Jackson has said he'd like to retire as a Ram, though it's possible that could change depending on how the postseason goes for the Patriots.

In 11 seasons in the NFL, Jackson has totaled 2,743 carries for 11,388 yards and 68 touchdowns in 11 seasons. Nine of those seasons came with the Rams and it's those seasons that put most of the wear and tear on his body. He was the bell cow for the Rams and doesn't fit the bill of a starting running back at this stage in his career. Still, Jackson desperately wants to compete in the postseason, and he will finally get that opportunity with the Patriots.

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