PHILADELPHIA – The first question LeGarrette Blount was asked by reporters after his Philadelphia Eagles won the NFC title was whether the Super Bowl would bring a chance at redemption.
“What redemption is it?” he asked.
Blount was portraying the opposite of his on-field persona: coy. He won the Super Bowl with the New England Patriots twice in three seasons, and then the team let him go in free agency. Whether it was because he struggled against the Atlanta Falcons last February (31 yards and a fumble) or because of economics, we’ll probably never know.
He doesn’t seem to be dwelling on it.
“I’m on the team that’s gonna go to the same game they’re about to go to,” he said.
He was not the answer the Patriots needed in that game, but that belies how important he has been in the playoffs during his career. He is the consummate power runner, a straight-ahead bulldozer that’s fairly hard to find in today’s NFL. He has 10 postseason touchdowns, seventh-most ever. (The six rushers in front of him are all in the Hall of Fame.) The Pats can seemingly win any game with any personnel as long as they have Tom Brady, but the rest of the world needs someone like Blount. And, let’s face it, the Pats needed him too. He’s the 10th-leading rusher in New England history.
Blount’s rushing touchdown Sunday was vintage – an 11-yard bullet to the end zone to give his team a 14-7 lead. He plowed over safety Andrew Sendejo and that was almost as impactful as the score itself. It was a statement and the home fans fed off it. The Vikings pride themselves on a physical defense but they were outmuscled and everyone knew it.
“Running like that is what sparks a [team’s] run or a defense getting going,” he said. “A lot of energy transfer.”
The Patriots are favored for a reason, but one thing they do not have is, ironically, someone like Blount. If they can’t relentlessly move the ball with short passes to Danny Amendola, Chris Hogan and Rob Gronkowski (if he’s healthy), they run the risk of losing the clock game to the Eagles. Blount may burn his old buddies.
But he’ll never say if that’s a factor.
“It’s not as special [playing against the Pats] as anyone else,” he says. “We play against faceless opponents every week.”
Yes and no. If James Harrison can depart a contender and help a rival, surely Blount can too. He ran against the Pats in practice for the better part of four seasons; there has to be some extra help he can provide. It’s the same with Eagles teammate Chris Long, who also played for the Pats last year and actually recruited Blount to Philadelphia.
“Me and L.G., we made a pact,” Long told reporters Sunday. “We talked about it, that we’d travel together. He’s one of my favorite teammates I’ve had. Obviously, he was a big part of so much of their success there and he’s brought a lot to this team.”
When asked what he can do to advise Eagles teammates who haven’t been to the biggest stage before, he said, “You can’t leave any stone unturned; any little detail can make the difference in the game.”
That is true, especially against New England. All of the Patriots’ Super Bowls have been close, determined by a clutch kick, pass or run. Blount knows; he just won’t go into it.
“Never enough time to walk down memory lane,” he said Sunday.
Too busy running in the other direction.