Although Deflate-gate is far from a dead matter, it appears that the fallout from this scandal won’t affect the New England Patriots’ spot in Super Bowl XLIX. Regardless, it seems that the Patriots just can’t avoid the conspiracy theories as they head towards their matchup with the Seattle Seahawks. And the latest potential scandal surrounding the team involves their running back, LeGarrette Blount.
For the first 11 games of the season, Blount played for the Pittsburgh Steelers and backed up Le’Veon Bell. He got 65 carries and totaled 266 yards and two rushing TD’s, before heading to the bus early during a game and later getting cut. At the time, it seemed like a career-destroying move and nobody would want to touch the 250-pound power runner this year. However, New England scooped Blount up and had him carrying the ball the following weekend.
Was it just coincidence that the Patriots needed a reliable first-string back at the same time that Blount wanted out of an unfavorable situation? Or is there more to the quick timing of New England’s late-season signing?
These were the type of questions that Blount was dodging during Tuesday’s media day in Arizona. In particular, here’s what he was asked and his responses (or lack thereof):
“Did you know you had a job with New England before you left Pittsburgh?”
Blount: Smiles without answering
“Why would you leave if you didn’t know in the back of your mind that they were waiting to call you?”
Blount: Smiles, laughs and says, “I don’t know nothing.”
If the Patriots organization, or someone around it, had contact with Blount prior to the signing, he’s obviously not telling anybody. But it’s clear that he’s happy going from Bell’s backup on a solid playoff team to one of the stars on New England’s Super Bowl squad.
There’s little doubt that Blount at least stayed in contact with his former Patriots teammates, including one-time starter Stevan Ridley, whose mid-October injury put him out of commission.
“I stayed close with a lot of guys,” Blount explained. “I stayed close with Ridley. I stayed close with Shane [Vereen]. I stayed close with all of my running backs. I stayed close with Devin [McCourty]. I stayed close with a lot of guys. Like I said, it’s a close-knit team. It’s really like a brotherhood. They supported me through everything that I’ve been through.”
However, Blount ultimately landed back in New England and it’s pretty clear that he’ll be a huge part of the gameplan next Monday night. And if you’re going to do some Super Bowl 49 betting, then you’ll definitely want to consider Blount’s involvement and how he balances out an attack that includes Tom Brady, Julian Edelman and Rob Gronkowski in the passing game. Will this, combined with Bill Belichick’s gameplan, be enough to topple the defending champion Seattle Seahawks? We’ll have to see when Super Bowl XLIX plays out in less than a week.