Remember LeGarrette Blount? He’s back once again.
As a matter of fact, the former Pittsburgh Steelers will be playing his former team with his current, and also other-former team, the Patriots, for the third time since he was unceremoniously dismissed during them middle of the 2014 season, which began with himself and Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell getting arrested for possession of marijuana.
Blount was suspended for the first game of the 2015 season, as a result, and Bell the first two, so, to be technical, he has only faced the Steelers once so far since leaving the team, because the Steelers and Patriots played in the opener that year.
But he and Bell squared off earlier this season in a Patriots victory over the Steelers at Heinz Field, and it was the former who was in charge on the day. Blount rushed for 127 yards—his season-high, on 24 carries for two touchdowns against the Steelers in that game. Bell was limited to 81 yards on 21 carries, among his worst games of the year. Though he did have 10 receptions for 68 yards.
On the season, Blount rushed nearly 300 times for 1161 yards and a very impressive 18 touchdowns, though he averaged just 3.9 yards per carry. While that no doubt has something to do with his many touchdowns, he also had a large number of negative runs. He had 69 runs of zero or negative yardage for -59 yards. For comparison’s sake, Bell had 33, for -20 yards, and only 13 were for negative yardage. For Blount, that number was 34.
Meanwhile, his former teammate, and presumably current friend, Bell, went on to rush for 1268 yards on 261 carries, though he only had seven touchdowns, admittedly in four fewer games than Blount. Blount had just eight carries for 31 yards in the Patriots’ first playoff game.
Bell has rushed for 337 yards on 59 carries with two touchdowns so far this postseason, averaging 5.7 yards per carry, and is looking forward to outdoing Blount this time, on a much larger stage than the first time they played across from one another.
There has been a lot said—particularly by Julian Edelman—about the Steelers and the Patriots, and how they differ as an organization and as a culture, but there is only one person in this game who has had meaningful experience in both organizations, and that is Blount.
So when he was asked to talk about said difference between Pittsburgh and New England, his answer was fittingly blunt: “next question”. He wouldn’t even touch that one.
When Blount was released by the Steelers after 11 games in the 2014 season after he left the field of a game in which Bell rushed for 200 yards because he himself wasn’t playing, and then also left the locker room, there were many Steelers who didn’t seem sorry to see him walk out the door. Maurkice Pouncey even insinuated that he was a locker room cancer.
But he does still have friends that will be there in the visitors’ locker room on Sunday. I don’t know if that had anything to do with his answer, or in a later answer in which he said that “I’m just going to go out there and play just like I play everybody else” and that “it’s more about us than them”. But no matter the reason, he wasn’t interested in digging up the past.