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Thursday, November 20, 2014

LeGarrette Blount Makes His Triumphant Return to the Patriots, Or Something

For a team that for the past decade plus has always prided itself on thinking outside the box and trying to be the smartest guys in the room, it was somewhat refreshing to see the Patriots make an obvious roster move that feels like a perfect fit. Running back LeGarrette Blount wasn't happy in Pittsburgh, so much so that he left the field early in their Monday Night Football win in Tennessee this week. Understandably, he was released by the Steelers and this morning the Patriots signed him to a two-year deal worth the veteran minimum plus incentives.

Jonas Gray has taken over the world this week after his unforgettable performance on Sunday in Indy. He's New England's starting running back for the moment but what if he struggles or god forbid gets hurt? Enter Blount who rushed for 772 yards and seven touchdowns last season with the Pats on 153 carries. He turned it up at the end of his only season with New England by rushing for 189 yards in the regular season finale vs. the Bills and then 166 yards and four touchdowns against the Colts in the playoff opener.

As always, the Patriots made this transaction with the future in mind. Stevan Ridley (out with a torn ACL), Shane Vereen and Brandon Bolden are all free agents next summer. That means that Gray and rookie James White were the only running backs under contract beyond this season before Blount re-entered the fold. To make room on the 53-man roster, defensive tackle Casey Walker was released although he could return via the practice squad (he still has eligibility for that).

Pittsburgh had signed Blount to a two-year deal last summer but predictably, neither he nor the team was content with his lack of production (65 carries, 266 yards, 2 TDs) and overall shitty attitude. However, he was behind his smoking buddy Le'Veon Bell who has become one of the best running backs in the NFL. In his last two games in Black and Gold, Blount's number was only called five times so you can see why he was upset (granted he dealt with it in his typical bozo way). If anything, that's good news for the Pats in the sense that he should be fresh and at 27 in his fifth NFL season, he figures to have a few more productive seasons left.

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