Running Back Notes: Martin, Elliott, Lacy, Bell

Buccaneers running back Doug Martin hasn’t seen the field since the second week of the season, but the 27-year-old may finally have a definitive return date. Buccaneers coach Dirk Koetter told SiriusXM NFL Radio that the team is optimistic that Martin will return for next week’s contest against the Bears.

“We’re hopeful that after these three days off that maybe he has a shot at Chicago,” Koetter said (via Alex Marvez of Sporting News). “But hamstrings seem to linger a little bit. We’ll have to wait and see.

“These hamstrings are just delicate. He was 90-plus percent back and doing his rehab run one day and he tweaked it again. (Bucs trainers) kind of had to go back and start over.”

Martin rushed for 1,402 yards and six touchdowns last season, and the organization rewarded him with a five-year, $36MM extension. The former first-round pick collected 85 yards on 25 carries in 2016 before being sidelined with the hamstring injury.

Let’s take a look at some other notes pertaining to the NFL’s running backs…

  • Domestic violence accusations have surrounded Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott this season, and an incident report from the Aventura (Fla.) Police Department (obtained by USA Today’s Tom Pelissero and A.J. Perez) said the player’s ex-girlfriend/accuser also accused the athlete of abusing her back in February. The police said there were no visible signs of injury, and Elliott was not arrested. The writers say it’s unclear whether the NFL knew about these previous allegations.
  • There are several big-name running back prospects in this year’s NFL draft, but one scout believes the depth is overrated. “This was billed as some elite running back class—it’s not,” the scout told Matt Miller of Bleacher Report. [Leonard] Fournette is a freak, but everyone knows that. Dalvin Cook is exciting, but he’s not close to last year’s first-rounder [Ezekiel Elliott]. [Nick] Chubb is a third[-rounder] from what I’ve heard in our group. The big kid at Texas [D’Onta Foreman] is the one to watch if he comes out. I like him better than Derrick Henry.”
  •’s Field Yates previews the “biggest upcoming roster decisions” for each NFL team, and the writer points to two team’s running situations. With Eddie Lacy set to become a free agent, the Packers will have to decided whether they want to invest in the veteran or go a different route. If the team does look to replace the 26-year-old, Yates believes they’ll do so via the draft.
  • Meanwhile, Yates also looks at the situation in Pittsburgh between the Steelers and Le’Veon Bell. As the 24-year-old slowly creeps towards unrestricted free agency, the writer wonders whether the team will spend to keep one of their homegrown talents.
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