Blount batters his way to 1,000 yards
Even on a team that has many major contributors, RB LeGarrette Blount is arguably the most unlikely of the bunch.
Who would have expected an undrafted rookie released from another roster at final cuts to practically transform the Bucs’ offense? Probably no one, but Blount did exactly that, capping his season by surpassing 1,000 rushing yards on Sunday.
It was just the third 1,000-yard season from a Tampa Bay rookie, Blount joining Cadillac Williams and Errict Rhett. Blount finished with 1,007 yards, and was keenly aware he couldn’t afford to lose any.
“That last carry, I didn’t really need it,” he joked. “I was hoping on that last carry that they didn’t give it to me because I didn’t want to lose any. And on top of that, I wanted Mike (Williams) to get his 1,000 yards, so I was hoping they’d throw a jump ball to him.”
Blount is very sensitive to the fact he wasn’t drafted, using it as a source of motivation. Told by a reporter that Cowboys Hall of Fame RB Tony Dorsett had the same number of rushing yards in his rookie campaign in 1977, Blount quipped with a straight face, “Was he drafted?”
Regardless of how he got here, the Bucs are confident he’s got the stuff to stick around. “I think this is my first time having a 1,000-yard back since I’ve been here and I take a lot of pride in it,” LT Donald Penn said. “He’s got to fix some stuff, but he’s going to get it fixed. I think he’s going to be one of the premier backs in this league. . . I’m so happy for him.”
Blount was particularly pleased that the Bucs didn’t hesitate to play him this season, even when he struggled in pass protection or fumbled here and there. The Bucs gave him an opportunity to shine, and Blount literally ran with it.
“I think the chance to be able to play as a rookie and not have to wait in line was great,” he said. “I was able to learn with Cadillac (Williams) and (Earnest Graham) and they brought me up to speed pretty fast. It was great for me.”
|About the writer|
Stephen F Holder has been writing additional Buccaneer features and daily blog reports on the team for several seasons now for The St.Petersburg Times.