BLOOMINGTON, Minn. -- LeGarrette Blount wanted to stay in New England. He openly campaigned for a contract. Instead, the Patriots decided to place the rarely-used veteran free-agent tender on the bullish running back just prior to the free agency deadline last May.
It raised eyebrows across the league but ensured the Pats would get Blount to count toward the league’s compensatory pick formula for the upcoming 2018 draft. That scared a few suitors away, but not the Eagles. They made a deal with the 31-year old and have been satisfied with the results. So has Blount, who says he harbors no ill will toward the Pats for potentially restricting his options.
“It’s a business, man,” he said Thursday from the Super Bowl in Minnesota. “You treat it like any other business. Guys get hired. Guys get fired. Guys get let go. Guys don’t get contracts renewed. It’s like any other business. You just can’t take it personal. I don’t take it personal. I still love Bill [Belichick]. I still love RK [Robert Kraft], you know, Tom [Brady], whatever . . . they handle their business differently than everyone else.”
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Still, with teams like the Giants, Lions and Ravens reportedly all backing away from the table because of that tender, was it hard not to be pissed off at the Pats ‘unique’ way of operating?
“I don’t hold grudges against anybody. I’m a pretty happy guy,” said Blount.
That was evident to his new team. Blount’s energy can be infectious, and center Jason Kelce noticed that right away.
“Just an awesome teammate to have,” he said. “Not only is he a great player, the downhill, physical running style he brings, but he’s also just a great personality a guy that is fun to be around. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve really started to appreciate guys like that -- with colorful personalities that always seem like they’re in a good mood. It’s uplifting.”
Blount said he had no trepidation about coming into a new locker room and wondering how he would fit.
“I’m not going to change for anyone,” he told me. “Fortunately for me, I was welcomed with open arms. Everybody embraced me and I got close with a lot of guys early.
“I smile all the time. There’s not a lot of times where you catch me not smiling. I don’t know how you couldn’t like me.”
His teammates and the city of Philadelphia will love him even more if he continues to build on a postseason resume that has seen him score in each of the team’s first two playoff games and help lift the Eagles to the first Super Bowl title in franchise history.