Of his most famous transgressions, Blount punched Boise State defensive end Byron Hout in the jaw, pushed a teammate and jarred at fans, all in immediate moments after the conclusion of Oregon's season-opening loss in 2009.
Blount, who is now a rookie running back for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, didn’t have just one isolated incident, though. He feuded with Oregon coaches, spoke out against sharing carries in his first season with the team and failed to show up for a number of workouts and team activities, which resulted in a suspension.
But Blount still produced at Oregon, rushing for 1,002 yards and 17 touchdowns in 2008, his only full season with the Ducks. Before whacking Hout, Blount was considered to be a first- or second-round talent in the 2010 draft, but that nationally televised incident scared a number of pro scouts, coaches and owners.
As a result, he went undrafted — despite his collegiate issues, it's still shocking that no one took a flier on him in a late round — and his troubles mounted. Blount reneged on an agreement to sign with the 49ers immediately after the draft, and he instead signed with the Titans. While in training camp, though, Blount was excused from the Titans for a few days for personal reasons and then got into a fight with a teammate before charging off the field.
Blount was waived at the end of training camp — one report indicated the Titans would place him on their practice squad if he cleared waivers — and scooped up by the Buccaneers, who had the second waiver priority after the Rams.
So far, it sounds like Blount has stayed out of trouble in Tampa, and he's put together a phenomenal season to boot. He is 16th in the NFL in rushing yards (941) and tied for seventh in yards per carry (5.2), all in spite of the fact that the bruising, 6-foot, 247-pounder didn’t receive regular playing time until Week 7. And Blount has eclipsed 100 yards in three of the last four games, including a season-high 164-yard effort Sunday against Seattle.
On one hand, it would be nice to believe Blount has turned the corner and can dash the character flaws that cost him millions of dollars in the draft. But on the other, NFL scouts and coaches do enough homework on players to know whether or not they're worth the risk in the draft. Is that an exact science? Absolutely not, but it's at least one way to measure a player's intangibles.
Blount joined the Bucs' crowded backfield that featured Cadillac Williams and Earnest Graham, and while Blount has gotten the carries that he's earned, will he blow a gasket if his carries slide off at any point next season, whether it's due to performance, injury or anything else? The Bucs are a young team with an extremely young head coach, and there might not be enough veteran presence in house to keep a stray attitude on point.
Blount's revitalized career has been one of the more intriguing storylines of the 2010 NFL season, as his talent has won out over his character flaws. But only Blount can control where he goes from here.
Will LeGarrette Blount turn into one of the best running backs in the NFL, or is there too much baggage? Leave your thoughts below.
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