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November 23, 2011 @ 3:46 pm
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Blount, Haynesworth Return To Tennessee To Face Ruud and Titans

Written by Mark
Cook
LeGarrette Blount was signed as an undrafted free agent by the Titans
LeGarrette Blount was signed as an undrafted free agent by the Titans Cliff Welch/PR
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The Buccaneers' LeGarrette Blount and Albert Haynesworth return to face their old team the Titans Sunday and the Tampa Bay offense will see a familiar face in Barrett Ruud lined up across the football.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers-Tennessee Titans connection runs three deep. While it isn’t necessarily unusual to have former teammates squaring off in an NFL game, this one is a bit unique due to the prominence off the three players involved.

Albert Haynesworth spent his first seven season in Tennessee before signing one of the most lucrative free agent deals in NFL history with the Washington Redskins in 2009. After two seasons and part of one in New England, Haynesworth joined the Buccaneers midway through this year.

Haynesworth said he has no-ill will against Tennessee but said his return to Tennessee isn’t a pleasure trip.

“I’m treating it like a business trip,” Haynesworth said. “After the game I might talk to some of the guys I know but other than that it's a business trip and also I get a chance to see my kids.”

Barrett Ruud played six seasons in Tampa before signing a one-year deal with the Titans this past offseason, a move that brought plenty of cheers and jeers. As the teams’ leading tackler his last four seasons in Tampa Bay, Ruud played in 95 games, recorded 776 tackles and six sacks. Tampa Bay management felt a more physical presence was needed and the Buccaneers selected Mason Foster in the third round of this year’s draft.

So far this season Foster is ahead of Ruud in every major defensive category. He's leading the Buccaneers in tackles with 73 and has added two sacks and with two forced fumbles. In comparison, Ruud is enters Sunday as the Titans' third-leading tackler with 68. He's recorded one sack, two tackles for loss and picked off one pass.

Bucs right tackle Jeremy Trueblood will be getting a first opportunity to go up against Ruud in a game situation and he said he's looking forward to seeing his old friend.


“Yeah we watched film today and it was fun to watch Barrett on the other team,” Trueblood said. “We always got to block him in practice but never at game-tempo speed so it will be fun to go against him after playing with him here for five years. I feel like I know he pretty well.”

When asked if the he misses Ruud on Tampa’s defense, Trueblood was candid.

“I don’t think so, that’s maybe mean to say but we have good players here. I wish the best for him.”

While the fans seemed to be split 50-50 on Ruud staying or leaving, Tennessee coach Mike Munchak is happy to have the seven-year veteran.

“We needed some leadership on defense and with the free agency and we lost our middle linebacker to free agency after the lockout,” Munchak said. “He has been a really good fit for us. As you guys know he’s a smart player. [He] runs well [and] can scan the field every play. 


"Unfortunately after we got out of training camp or toward the end when he got the shoulder injury, he has been playing week-to-week really with multiple injuries. It hasn’t held him back. He missed one game -- the Carolina game -- because of the injuries. [He] re-injured the groin a little bit last week, but that’s been the hard part [and] the frustrating part for him.

“Again [he is] a guy that has come in and really quarterbacked the defense real well,” Munchak continued. “We are playing a lot of young guys. The coach can only do so much. I think when you have special players [and] veteran type players like Barrett [and] like Hasselback that can help your team grow help the young guys [and] develop those guys.”

Running back LeGarrette Blount, the last Titan-Buccaneer connection, is one who may have the biggest impact on Sunday’s contest. Blount originally signed off as an undrafted free agent with Tennessee before the 2010 season but was nabbed by Tampa Bay after the Titans waived him and attempted to sneak him through to their practice squad.

Blount is happy with the outcome, regardless of how it happened.

“I am just happy that everything worked out the way it did,” Blount said. “Fortunately I came here and became the premier starting running back so everything worked out for the best.”

Former Tennessee tight end Frank Wychek, now part of the Titans radio network said earlier this week that letting Blount go was one of the biggest mistakes the orginzation has made. Blount appreciated Wychek’s compliment.

“That’s flattering because I know Frank Wycheck,” Blount said.  “He is one of the better tight ends to ever play. I appreciate that and like I said the move probably didn’t work out so well for them. It worked out for the better for me [with] me getting into the situation that I am in right now so I am happy to be here. I am happy things worked out the way they did.”

Last modified on Wednesday, 23 November 2011 19:16
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COMMENTS

  • avatar


    I never saw the big hit either, but I also never saw the TEs killing us over the middle like they are now. When they see Ruud, they should ask him if he wants to come back for a 2yr stint until we are able to get the MLB position coached up!
  • avatar


    I was disappointed that Ruud's play seemed to digress from when he was made the starter until he left in free agency. You just never saw him make that big stick from his MLB position. I'm sure Haynesworth has some motivation, but I'll bet the Titan's O-Line does too. Blount should have no ill will but I expect he will want to show the Titan's coaching staff what they lost.
  • avatar


    If we are going to run the table we have to start with a win against the Titans. They have some injuries and the Bucs should be able to take them if they put forth the good effort they showed in the Green Bay game. Bllount was able to decimate a great Green Bay Defense in his famous run last week. Hope he can get two long runs for touchdowns against the Titan Defense. We have been terrible this year in the red zone, which makes no sense to me at all. We have tight ends and receivers who should be able to get open in the end zone. I get it that Blount despite all his long runs can not be depended upon for a one yard plunge on the goal line, but that is where Freeman comes in. All he has to do is fall forward and with his strength and weight he is a sure score, but he is not called upon enough in short yardage to get the touchdown. Smarten up Bucs and get those red zone scores and beat the Titans this week.
  • avatar


    Can't wait to see Blount run over Ruuuuuuudddddd!
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