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UNC Football: Elijah Hood claimed by Carolina Panthers

Oakland cut the running back on Monday.

Los Angeles Rams v Oakland Raiders Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

The transaction will likely take up a line, at most, and not really bring a story. Even the official team site only devoted six sentences to it.

Carolina Panthers claim running back Elijah Hood.”

The move followed Oakland cutting the running back on Monday, not long after they acquired Ryan Switzer from Dallas. The Raiders only elevated Hood (no relation to the author, sadly) from the practice squad to the 53-man roster for one game, the week 8 loss against Buffalo. Hood didn’t touch the ball in that game, and only saw action on special teams.

That said, the move was puzzling for Oakland. The depth of the roster at running back isn’t strong, and the situation seemed ripe for Hood to at least stay around one more year to develop under new coach Jon Gruden and be part of the solution if both Marshawn Lynch and Doug Martin leave after the 2018 season. It could be a part of Gruden wanting to flush out the old administration as much as he can, and Hood just became a casualty of room for Gruden’s newly signed RB Chris Warren.

Oakland’s loss is Carolina’s gain. The team made headlines on Monday for signing former Denver running back CJ Anderson to replace Jonathan Stewart, and right now the top of the depth chart has Anderson, multi-talented Christian McCaffrey, Cameron Artis-Payne, and Fozzy Whittaker. The Panthers also have UFA Reggie Bonnafon as well, so the best case for Hood looks like another year on the practice squad.

That said Artis-Payne, Whittaker, and Anderson are all due to be free agents after 2018. Hood will likely see the field a fair amount in the preseason, and with four running backs likely to be on the 53-man roster, an injury to any could provide Hood with a chance see some action during the 2018 season.

The move brings Hood back to the city where he amassed almost 9,000 yards on the ground for Charlotte Catholic High School. It also brings him back together with Marty Hurney, whose son Joe played alongside Hood in High School (tidbit via the Charlotte Observer).

The move also brings Hood back to the scene of one of the more infamous events in his career at Carolina. It was in Bank of America Stadium in 2015 that Hood ran for 144 yards, including a long of 44, but hardly any of those in the second half as South Carolina came back to beat the Tar Heels for their lone regular season loss of the season. Hood would go on to rush for 1463 yards that year, scoring 17 touchdowns. The production dipped in 2016, with more long stretches of Hood being on the sideline. Now Tar Heel fans hope to be able to cheer for him back in his hometown.