Blount: Tampa Bay is just another team

Blount: Tampa Bay is just another team
September 19, 2013, 3:00 pm
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FOXBORO -- Decked out in Patriots gear, LeGarrette Blount faced a media horde in front of his locker on Thursday and was asked to review his curious past in Tampa Bay.

"I'm a Patriots," he said with a smile. "I'm a Patriots player now. I don't play for the Bucs no more. I don't look at them as a former team. I look at them as somebody I got to play against like anybody else."

But the Bucs aren't just any other team for Blount. They are the team that gave him life in the NFL.

Though one of the more physically gifted running backs in college football, he had gone undrafted out of Oregon in 2010 after he punched Boise State's Byron Hout following a season-opening loss to the Broncos in 2009. Blount was initially suspended for the remainder of that season, but he was reinstated for his team's final four games and was essentially a non-factor for the Ducks.

He signed with the Titans as a rookie free agent but quickly got into trouble once again. He punched a teammate in training camp and was waived soon thereafter.

That's when the Bucs swooped in and gave Blount a chance. He rewarded them with six touchdowns and a 1,007-yard season on a 5.0 yard-per-carry average.

That same year, however, according to a report by the Tampa Bay Times, Blount was fined repeatedly for showing up late to practice. In 2011, according to the report, Blount got to practice using a car service hired by the team to ensure that he would make it to the Buccaneers facilities in a timely fashion.

Blount rushed for 781 yards on 184 attempts and fumbled three times that season under coach Raheem Morris. When Greg Schiano took over in Tampa Bay the following year, it wasn't long before the writing was on the wall for Blount's future there. Schiano drafted Doug Martin in the first round and Martin became the team's workhorse back almost immediately.

"He's a really good running back," Blount said of Martin on Thursday. "He's solid. He done a lot of things last year that a lot of rookies didn't do. He's a really good player, he's a tough runner, downhill and he has really good balance. He's definitely one of their best weapons. It's gonna be hard to contain him."

When Blount was asked if he believed he was given a fair shot at competing for the Bucs starting running back job last season, Blount smiled again.

"I play for the Patriots now, man," he said. "Ain't none of that matter."

Blount was acquired by the Patriots in a trade that came on the final day of the 2013 NFL Draft. New England sent a seventh-round pick and return man Jeff Demps to Tampa Bay and got the 6-foot, 250-pounder in return.

Blount has rushed for 26 yards on 11 carries through two games for the Patriots. He has also accumulated 60 kickoff return yards through two weeks.

Though he doesn't appear to be in line for a prominent role in New England's offense against Tampa Bay -- even despite Stevan Ridley's early-season ball-security issues -- he insisted that he's staying ready. But his preparation in the days leading up to Sunday have been the same as they would in any week, regardless of the opponent.

He said there's no extra motivation to prepare for the Buccaneers.

"Not at all," he explained. "I'm gonna come into work and do everything that I have to do, supposed to do, and go out and play the game just like I don't know nobody on that squad."