Rex Burkhead

RB Rex Burkhead Announces Retirement

Despite being a sixth-round pick, Rex Burkhead managed to play 10 NFL seasons. The veteran running back did not play during the 2023 campaign and will not attempt to come back.

The former Bengals, Patriots and Texans back announced his retirement Monday. This will wrap a productive career as a supplementary back, with Burkhead’s most notable work coming in New England. Burkhead, 33, did venture to Las Vegas for a Raiders workout while Josh Jacobs was away on the franchise tag last summer, but no reunion between he and Josh McDaniels came to pass.

The Patriots initially signed Burkhead during the 2017 offseason, adding him while letting LeGarrette Blount walk in free agency. Burkhead and James White represented constants in the Pats’ backfield over the ensuing four years, with the likes of Dion Lewis, Sony Michel, Damien Harris and Cordarrelle Patterson mixing in at various points. The Patriots mostly used Burkhead as a backup running back and an auxiliary pass catcher. He managed eight touchdowns in 2017 (three receiving) but made his most memorable contributions during the ’18 playoffs. The Patriots saved an IR-return slot — back when NFL rules only allowed teams to bring two players off IR in a season — for Burkhead, who had suffered an early-season concussion.

Although the Chiefs’ rise was imminent, the Patriots delayed that ascent when they ousted the No. 1-seeded team in the 2018 AFC championship game. The Pats won an overtime thriller in Kansas City. Finishing with 64 scrimmage yards that night, Burkhead scored in the final minute of regulation to give the Pats a lead and then secured the visitors a walk-off win after a 2-yard TD to punctuate the first drive of overtime. Burkhead collected a Super Bowl ring soon after.

Burkhead was part of a crowded Bengals backfield earlier in the 2010s, seeing Giovani Bernard and Jeremy Hill garner most of the work. The Nebraska alum only surpassed 100 scrimmage yards in one of his four Cincinnati seasons — his 2016 platform year — but the Patriots gave Burkhead three contracts — the most notable a three-year, $9.75MM accord in 2018.

Closing out his career with the Texans, Burkhead signed two more deals with the rebuilding team — one run by ex-Patriots exec Nick Caserio. Burkhead delivered a 149-yard showing to help the Texans upset the Chargers in Week 16 of that season; that result ended up denying the Bolts a playoff berth. At 31, Burkhead finished the 2021 season with a career-high 427 rushing yards. Over the course of his career, Burkhead earned just more than $18MM.

Latest On Raiders, Josh Jacobs

AUGUST 3: Despite the report indicating Vegas is open to further negotiations, Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk notes that no new dialogue has taken place as of yet. The Barkley situation could still provide a roadmap to a resolution in this case, but the leverage advantage the team has gives them little obligation to actively pursue a deal other than the tag. Plenty of time remains before the regular season, though signs do not point to this situation ending soon.

AUGUST 1: With Saquon Barkley rejoining the Giants earlier than expected — in exchange for a small incentive packageJosh Jacobs stands alone among the franchise-tagged contingent. The Raiders running back has not reported to the Raiders, staying away in protest of the franchise tag.

Barkley was believed to be preparing to skip camp as well, but he changed his mind and now has a high-six-figure incentive set to chase. Would the Raiders be amenable to a similar agreement to bring Jacobs back? The team is open to restarting talks with Jacobs, CBS Sports’ Josina Anderson tweets.

Seeing as the tag deadline came and went without a running back being extended, there is not too much talking left to do. Jacobs is tied to the $10.1MM tag price, though the league’s reigning rushing champion has not signed the tender. The Raiders can rescind it and take their chances with lesser backs. That should not be considered likely. The team can also agree not to tag Jacobs in 2024, but with the Giants not making that concession for Barkley, it is hard to see the Raiders doing so for Jacobs. They still wield the power here, with Jacobs set to miss out on $561K for each regular-season game he misses.

The team can dangle some incentives for Jacobs, who can stay away until Week 1 without being fined. They can also trade him. Teams interested in Jonathan Taylor would stand to be curious about Jacobs, though no extension can be discussed until January 2024. Jacobs, 25, has made a number of cryptic tweets suggesting dissatisfaction with how his negotiations went. The Raiders have been connected to making an offer in the $12MM-per-year range; another report indicated the sides were not close to hammering out an extension.

I think everybody loves and respects J.J. and understands the process,” Josh McDaniels said, via’s Gilberto Manzano. “I certainly do. And I’ve said it a million times this year: I love the player and the person, and I understand the process he’s going through. We’re going to work as hard as we can with the guys that are here every day, and ultimately when he’s back, we’re going to look forward to getting him back and integrated into the group.

Like the Giants, the Raiders are not especially deep at running back. They have 2022 fourth-round pick Zamir White and veteran special-teamers Brandon Bolden and Ameer Abdullah atop their depth chart behind Jacobs. The team also brought in veterans Rex Burkhead and Damien Williams for Tuesday workouts, Field Yates of tweets.

Burkhead’s Las Vegas cameo should not exactly come as a surprise, given the number of ex-Patriots the Raiders have brought in since hiring McDaniels and GM Dave Ziegler. Burkhead spent the past two years in Houston, but the veteran played four seasons (2017-20) in New England. McDaniels was the Pats’ OC throughout that period. Williams, whom the Falcons released from their IR list last season, worked out for the Cardinals last week. Burkhead is 33; Williams is 31.

Despite their respective ages, neither has amassed a particularly high number of career touches. Burkhead sits at 680, Williams 490. This has kept the duo’s careers going past age 30, and the Raiders are checking in as they manage a higher-workload back’s hiatus.

Latest On Texans’ RB Room

Much of the talk around the Texans’ 2022 offense is centered on second-year QB Davis Mills, but improving on last season’s league-worst rushing attack would give the unit a much-needed boost. The team’s first depth chart offers an important look into the team’s plans at the running back position. 

Houston has listed Marlon Mack as the lead back, per Aaron Wilson of Pro Football Network (Twitter link). The 26-year-old signed in April to try and rebuild his value after two disappointing campaigns with the Colts. He has played just seven games during that span, which was preceded by a two-year stretch in which he produced 1,999 rushing yards and 18 total touchdowns.

Compared to the Colts’ backfield, which is now led by Jonathan Taylor and Nyheim Hines, Mack should have a clearer path to a significant workload. He will be in competition with fellow veteran Rex Burkhead, who led the team with 427 rushing yards last season. Those two will be joined by fourth-round rookie Dameon Pierce at the top of the depth chart, which also includes Dare Ogunbowale and Royce Freeman.

A committee approach would come as little surprise at this point, given the lack of known commodities amongst the group. A return to his previous form from Mack would, however, be a welcomed sight for both the rebuilding team and his free agent value next offseason. Failing that, more attention being given to Pierce – who averaged 5.5 yards per carry during his career at Florida – during the course of the season could be expected.

Another member of the Texans’ RB room (at least for the time being) is Darius Anderson. The TCU alum had a burglary charge against him dropped last week, but he will still not be on the field in 2022. Wilson tweets that Anderson suffered a season-ending knee injury in practice. That means the soon-to-be 25-year-old will wait at least one more year to make his NFL debut, and the Texans will have a slightly clearer outlook on an important position group heading into the season.

Latest On Texans’ Running Backs Room

The Texans finished the 2021 NFL season ranked dead-last in rushing yards, rushing touchdowns, and rushing yards per carry. Houston has made some moves to address the position and the room will look fairly different at camp this summer. 

Last year saw four Texans’ running backs start games. Three of those running backs are no longer on the roster. Mark Ingram returned to New Orleans midway through last season, Phillip Lindsay signed this offseason with the Colts, and David Johnson hit the free agent market and has yet to sign with a new team. While losing three players who started games may sound significant, the three backs combined last year to rush for only 652 yards and 2 touchdowns while averaging only 3.12 yards per carry.

Houston returns their leading rusher last year, Rex Burkhead. Burkhead, who turns 32 next month, racked up the highest rushing total of his career last year in his ninth season, totaling 427 yards on the ground. Burkhead has been a third-down type of running back throughout his career, recording more receiving yards than rushing in tw0 of his nine years. The Texans also return Royce Freeman, who was claimed off waivers in early-November last year.

To address the struggling run-game, Houston made two big moves. The first move they made was to sign free agent running back Marlon Mack in the weeks leading up to the Draft. Mack spent five seasons in Indianapolis, starting as a backup to Frank Gore. Once Gore left in free agency, Mack took the starting job and, despite missing six games in the next two years, was 92 yards away from two-consecutive 1,000-yard rushing seasons. In 2020, a torn Achilles in Week 1 ended Mack’s season and opened the door for then-rookie Jonathan Taylor to take the reins. Taylor quickly took over, finishing second in Offensive Player of the Year voting last year. In his final year with the Colts, Mack took a backseat to Taylor and Nyheim Hines as he was only active in six games.

The second move Houston made was drafting Florida running back Dameon Pierce in the fourth-round of the Draft. Pierce had the best year of his career in his senior season while splitting carries with Malik Davis and Nay’quan Wright. Pierce only rushed for 574 yards in his final season as a Gator, but his physical playing-style led to him leading the team with 16 touchdowns from scrimmage, 13 of those being on the ground.

So who is taking the lead for Houston next season? According to Aaron Wilson of Pro Football Network, the Texans will have a committee-approach at running back this year. They have built a room that holds quite a few skill sets necessary for a successful position group. Mack is expected to take the lead back role, as he’s the only one with experience and success in that role. Although Mack runs with the same physical, attacking style as Pierce, Pierce’s presence should allow Mack a bit of a reprieve in those short-yardage and goal-line situations. Burkhead should be able to return to his role as a receiving, third-down back. Freeman has experience spelling starters as a reliable backup, and can continue to do so in any role asked of him. Houston also brought in former-Jaguar Dare Ogunbowale who has plenty of experience as a backup, as well. They also roster Darius Anderson, who will likely serve as a camp body this summer.

With Mack, Pierce, and Burkhead, Houston has specialists for three different situations. If they need or want more bodies on the 53-man roster, Freeman, Ogunbowale, and the young Anderson can compete for that fourth slot. The improvements needed for the run-game need to come from several areas: offensive line make-up, success in the passing-game to take pressure off, down-field blocking from receivers and tight ends, etc. The first-step, though, is to have players who can run, and Houston has drastically renovated their running backs room in an attempt to get out of the basement of rushing offenses.


Texans, Rex Burkhead Agree On Extension

The Texans have used a host of veteran running backs this season. Some remain on the roster, while others are now elsewhere. The team identified Rex Burkhead as one it wants to keep around beyond this season.

The ninth-year veteran back agreed to terms on an extension, Sarah Barshop of reports (on Twitter). Burkhead’s new deal is set to run through the 2022 season.

Although Burkhead spent the first eight seasons of his career as a role player and a valued backup, the Texans have turned to him as their top runner in recent weeks. In Week 16 against the Chargers he delivered a career-best performance, rushing for 149 yards and two touchdowns on 22 carries. That yardage total topped Burkhead’s previous single-game best by 30 yards. After logging no more than four carries in a game through the first 10 weeks of the season, Burkhead has totaled 102 since. The Nebraska alum has gained 403 yards on 110 carries this season.

A former Bengals sixth-round pick, Burkhead rushed for just 31 yards over his first three seasons and played behind Giovani Bernard and Jeremy Hill. Burkhead signed with the Patriots in 2017 and became a more prominent contributor, scoring eight touchdowns for the 2017 AFC champion Pats outfit and helping their 2018 squad win Super Bowl LIII. The Texans gave Burkhead a one-year, $1.5MM deal in June.

Burkhead, 31, joined Mark Ingram, Phillip Lindsay and David Johnson as seasoned vets in Houston’s backfield this year. Only Burkhead and Johnson remain on the team, and the previous Texans regime famously brought in Johnson. The ex-Cardinal All-Pro’s contract expires after this season. So does recent waiver claim Royce Freeman‘s. The Texans will need to make new plans at running back for 2022, but Burkhead is in line to be part of the team’s next backfield at age 32.

Mark Ingram Could Be ‘Odd Man Out’ W/ Texans RBs?

Mark Ingram signed a one-year deal worth “up to” $3MM with the Texans back in March, but he’s apparently not guaranteed to make the team.

Houston has been busy beefing up their running backs room, and they just signed Rex Burkhead last month. It’s now “unlikely” that the team will keep all of Ingram, Burkhead, David Johnson, and Phillip Lindsay, Sarah Barshop of writes. Since she notes the Texans just restructured Johnson’s contract this offseason which gave him more guaranteed money for 2021, Barshop says he’ll “probably make the team”

That could make Ingram the “odd man out.” Ingram got a $500K signing bonus from Houston, but it sounds like they might end up eating that. Lindsay is only 26 and has shown plenty of flashes with the Broncos, so his spot on a rebuilding team that needs younger guys should be assured.

That likely means Ingram and Burkhead will be battling it out for one roster spot, so either way it seems as if one well-known veteran will be getting the axe. Ingram will turn 32 in December and had a down year last season, but was a Pro Bowler as recently as 2019.

He spent the first eight years of his career with the Saints before ending up in Baltimore for the last two. Burkhead turned 31 last week and spent the past four seasons in a part-time role with the Patriots.

Details On Rex Burkhead’s Texans Deal

Earlier this week, the Texans added Rex Burkhead to their revamped running back group. Turns out, it didn’t cost them much. Burkhead’s one-year deal is worth $1.5MM, with his $125K signing bonus representing the only guaranteed cash (Twitter link via’s Tom Pelissero). 

The Texans already seemed pretty well set at RB with Pro Bowlers Mark Ingram, David Johnson, and Phillip Lindsay in place. However, new GM Nick Caserio couldn’t pass up the opportunity to reunite with his old Patriots pal. With a mere $125K committed to the veteran, it’s hard to knock the move.

Burkhead, 30, comes to the Texans with ample experience and a reputation for soft hands out of the backfield. Across his 41 games in New England, Burkhead caught 96 passes for 856 yards and seven touchdowns, averaging 8.9 yards per grab. He also ran for 1,026 yards on the ground, giving him a respectable 4.1 yards per tote average.

Unfortunately, Burkhead finished 2020 early, thanks to a November ACL tear. In ten games, he ran for 274 yards and three touchdowns on 67 carries. He also had 25 receptions for 192 yards and three TDs.

Now, he’ll compete with lesser known backs like Scottie Phillips, Buddy Howell, and Dontrell Hilliard for a spot on the roster. And, if he doesn’t outshine them, the Texans can shed his deal without tying up the books.

Texans Sign Rex Burkhead

The Texans have signed Rex Burkhead, according to John McClain of the Houston Chronicle. The ex-Patriots running back will join fellow newcomers Mark Ingram and Phillip Lindsay in the Texans’ new-look group.

Burkhead, 30, ended the season on IR, thanks to a November ACL tear. Before that, he was enjoying another solid season as the Pats’ change-of-pace back. Through ten games, the 30-year-old collected 274 yards and three touchdowns on 67 carries. He also had 25 receptions for 192 yards and three scores.

The Texans now count seven RBs on their 90-man offseason roster. Burkhead works to carve out a role, he’ll have plenty of familiar faces around. Texans GM and longtime Patriots exec Nick Caserio has imported lots of players from New England, including offensive tackle Marcus Cannon, wide receiver Donte Moncrief, and defensive end Derek Rivers.

David Johnson and Ingram still project to serve as the lead backs, with support from Lindsay. Assuming all three stick, there’s probably only one more RB spot up for grabs in Houston.

Patriots Place OL Isaiah Wynn, RB Rex Burkhead On IR

A trio of Patriots players landed on injured reserve today. ESPN’s Field Yates reports (via Twitter) that New England has placed running back Rex Burkhead, left tackle Isaiah Wynn, and nose tackle Carl Davis on IR.

The Burkhead move isn’t overly surprising; the veteran RB suffered a torn ACL last weekend, ending his season. Now in his fourth year with New England, the veteran was having another solid season as a change-of-pace back. Through 10 games, the 30-year-old collected 274 yards and three touchdowns on 67 carries. He had another 25 receptions for 192 yards and three scores.

While the Patriots will surely miss Burkhead’s veteran presence, the team does have a number of options at running back. Damien Harris has emerged as a solid option in the running game, and Cam Newton can still turn to pass-catcher James White. The team is also rostering former first rounder Sony Michel, who could return this weekend after having been sidelined since Week 3.

Wynn, a 2018 first-rounder, was limited to only eight games through his first two seasons in the NFL. However, in 2020, he’s emerged as one of New England’s best offensive lineman, and he’s shown versatility by playing both offensive tackle and offensive guard. The 24-year-old suffered a knee injury during last weekend’s loss to the Texans, but the lineman could theoretically return before the season is over.

Davis, 28, joined the Patriots after being signed off the Jaguars practice squad in October. The defensive lineman has seen time in three games for New England this season, collecting three tackles. He’s appeared in 39 career games (13 starts) with the Patriots, Ravens, Browns, Jaguars, and Colts.

Patriots Fear Rex Burkhead Has Torn ACL

It’s just not the Patriots’ year. New England lost another game at the last minute Sunday, and it looks like they’ll be without a key piece of the offense the rest of the way.

The Pats fear running back Rex Burkhead has a torn ACL, a source told Jeff Howe of The Athletic (Twitter link). Howe adds that he’ll get an MRI to confirm, but initial field tests for ACL tears are extremely accurate and almost never wrong. He was never a featured back in New England, but he’s played a consistent role for Bill Belichick over the past four years. He’ll finish the season with 67 carries for 274 yards and three touchdowns, adding 25 catches for 192 yards and another three scores through the air.

A sixth-round pick of the Bengals back in 2013, Burkhead was signed by Belichick after his rookie deal expired in 2017. Burkhead is now set to be an unrestricted free agent again this spring, and he’ll be 31 by the time next season starts. With the Pats having youngsters Damien Harris and Sony Michel in the backfield, it’s certainly possible they’ll decide to move on. That being said he remained productive this season, and was actually seeing a little bit more volume than in years past.

If this is the end of his run with the Patriots, he’ll finish it having won Super Bowl LIII with the team. At his age and now coming off the ACL tear he’ll struggle for much guaranteed money on the market, assuming he decides to keep playing.