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Carolina Panthers pick up former Oregon running back off waivers

Tim Verghese09/02/21
Article written by:On3 imageTim Verghese


Dustin Bradford/Getty Images

The Carolina Panthers picked up fourth-year running back Royce Freeman off waivers on Thursday, the team announced.

Freeman comes to the Panthers after three seasons in Denver. The Oregon product has rushed for 1,187 yards and eight touchdowns in his career so far, adding 409 receiving yards and another touchdown through the air. Freeman started eight games for the Broncos, all as a rookie. He was waived by the Broncos on Wednesday, after Denver claimed defensive back Mike Ford and running back Nate McCrary off waivers

The addition of Royce Freeman gives the Panthers much-needed experience in the backfield behind Christian McCaffery.

Including Freeman, the Panthers have just three running backs on the 53-man roster. The third back, rookie Chubba Hubbard, separated himself as the Panthers backup running back in the preseason.

Hubbard’s best performance of the preseason came in the opener, rushing for 80 yards on just seven carries. Over the final two weeks of the preseason, Hubbard combined for 59 rushing yards on 19 carries and five catches for 44 yards.

Hubbard and Freeman will contend for snaps behind McCaffery, who is considered one of the top offensive weapons in the league. The Stanford product missed all but three games in 2020 after dealing with injuries all season.

In his four-year NFL career so far, McCaffery has rushed for 3,145 yards and 29 touchdowns, adding another 2672 yards and 16 touchdowns receiving.

Royce Freeman was drafted by the Broncos in the third round of the 2018 NFL Draft after a record breaking career at Oregon. In four seasons at Oregon, Freeman rushed for 5,621 yards and 60 touchdowns. As a freshman, Freeman earned Pac-12 Freshman of the Year and second-team All-Pac-12 honors. As a sophomore, Freeman earned first-team All-Pac-12 honors after rushing for 1,836 yards and 17 touchdowns. Freeman finished his collegiate career, earning second-team All-Pac-12 honors as a senior.

Coming out of Imperial (California), Royce Freeman rushed for over 2,000 yards in the last three years of his career. As a senior, Freeman rushed 2,824 yards and 41 touchdowns Freeman finished his high school career as the San Diego Section record-holder for career rushing yards, touchdowns and point scored. Freeman finished his high school career with 7,606 rushing yards, 11 touchdowns and 724 points.