It wasn’t his ferocious, hard-nosed running style. It wasn’t his knack for breaking off a big run. It wasn’t even his highlight reel hurdling ability that got running back LeGarrette Blount a job with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. In the end, it was Blount’s kindness to others that landed him in Tampa Bay.
Today during ProFootballTalk Live with Mike Florio, Bucs general manager Mark Dominik shared a story about Blount when he came to Tampa Bay for a pre-draft meeting.
“We did a lot of work on Blount at the Senior Bowl. We brought him in on a pre-draft visit. He was wearing a suit. Only player to go in the back of the dining area and thank all the staff back there. That resonated with me.”
Dominik had his chances to draft Blount or even get him sign him as an undrafted free agent, but he did not. Instead the Tennesee Titans took a chance on Blount, but released him near the end of the pre-season.
Give Dominik credit for not passing over Blount again. The Titans wanted to sign Blount to their practice squad, but the Bucs were the only team to put a waiver claim in for the 6-foot, 248-pounder and Dominik signed Blount to a two-year deal just before the season started.
After taking a few weeks to learn the playbook, Blount finally saw his first NFL action against the Pittsburgh Steelers and rushed for 27 yards and one touchdown in that game. In the second half of the season, Blount took over the starting position for Cadillac Williams and ended the season with 201 carries for 1,007 yards and six touchdowns. He is only the second rookie undrafted running back in NFL history to rush for over 1,000 yards.
For his efforts in the final month of the season, Blount was named the NFL Offensive Player of the Month
His politeness to the Bucs’ kitchen staff has given him a real bright future in Tampa Bay.
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