Belichick names Maroney full-time starter. Nah, just kidding – he traded him to Denver.

New England Patriots running back Laurence Maroney (39) spikes the ball in the endzone after scoring a touchdown in the first quarter against the Miami Dolphins at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Massachusetts on November 8, 2009. The Patriots defeated the Dolphins 27-17. UPI/Matthew Healey Photo via Newscom

There have been times over the course of the last couple of years where it looked like Laurence Maroney was finally going to turn the page in New England.

Like the time when he rushed for 125 yards and two touchdowns on 15 carries against the Bengals his rookie year – a performance that earned him both FedEx Ground NFL Player of the Week and Diet Pepsi Rookie NFL Player of the Week honors.

Or like during the 2007 playoffs, when he compiled 244 rushing yards and two touchdowns in two games before being limited to 36 yards on 14 carries (with one touchdown) against the Giants in the Super Bowl.

But whenever it appeared that Maroney was ready to make more out of his career, injuries, inconsistent play or Bill Belichick’s desire to keep Corey Dillon, Kevin Faulk or Fred Taylor relevant would get in his way.

After receiving zero action in the final two preseason games this year, Maroney appeared to be in Belichick’s doghouse for good. And even when Belichick insisted that his former first round pick was still in the Patriots’ plans, you got the sense that Maroney wasn’t long for New England.

On Tuesday, Belichick shipped Maroney and a sixth rounder to Denver in exchange for a fourth round pick. Maroney will now be reunited with Josh McDaniels, who was his former offensive coordinator in New England. He joins a backfield that also includes Knowshon Moreno and Correll Buckhalter, although the latter has shown signs of decline, which is probably why the Broncos felt the need to acquire Maroney.

Maybe now that he’s out of Foxboro, Maroney will start to live up to his first round status. He’s still going to have to split carries, but at 25 he has plenty of time to turn things around if he can make the most out of the situation.

In New England, Belichick is now relying on the combination of Taylor, Faulk and Sammy Morris in the running game. Should be interesting.

Knowshon Moreno owners can relax. He’s the clear RB1 in Denver. If anything, the main guy hurt by Maroney’s arrival is Correll Buckhalter, who may not get as many reps if Maroney thrives with the Broncos. I think the big benefactor from this trade is probably Fred Taylor, who is now even more cemented in as the Pats‘ RB1. Maroney was up-and-down while in New England, but he clearly has some talent and he was still a threat to Taylor’s touches. Now Taylor will surely be the main ballcarrier while Kevin Faulk takes all the third-down and receiving duties. It looks like BenJarvus Green-Ellis (5 carries on Sunday) is next in line for carries if Taylor were to go down.

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