Respect From Eagles Has Blount Wanting Back In
PHILADELPHIA (973espn.com) - Two seasons, two different teams, and two Lombardi Trophies.
That's what LeGarrette Blount's resume can lead with but the 31-year-old, 250-pound battering ram is again uncertain where he will be playing football in 2018.
Blount signed a one-year, prove-it deal with the Eagles after piling up an 18-touchdown season for the Super Bowl LI champion New England Patriots. He then gouged his old team in Super Bowl LII in Minneapolis earlier this month as a key part of the Eagles' running back-by-committee approach which helped Philadelphia bring back the Lombardi to the NovaCare Complex for the first time.
Despite all of that, however, conventional wisdom says the salary-cap strapped Birds will be handing the baton to younger options come September, most notably trade deadline pickup Jay Ajayi and Corey Clement, the former undrafted rookie who turned into a meaningful contributor in Year 1 of his NFL career.
Blount, though, was the team's leading rusher both in the regular season and the Super Bowl and could be going for the unprecedented trifecta, three consecutive Super Bowls with three different clubs.
"It’s early. So we’ll see," Blount said of his pending free agency on the NFL Network. "Obviously I like it a lot there. They like me a lot there. It’s a mutual respect and a mutual agreement thing, about how we feel about each other. Obviously, you guys know how I feel about the guys, about the team. I love those guys."
Another big positive from Blount's perspective is his position coach Duce Staley, who could be in line for a promotion to offensive coordinator after the exits of Frank Reich and John DeFilippo.
"I can’t say enough about Duce," Blount continued. "Just for the simple fact that how I was coached there. How good he helped me understand things. I feel like Duce is one the best running back coaches — one of the best coaches I’ve ever had in my entire life. Obviously, I want to be a part of that for a while, so we’ll see how it goes."
Because the over-30 crowd at RB is treated like leprosy by NFL decision-makers, Blount isn't going to break the bank anywhere so another cost-effective, one-year deal could be a possibility as insurance for Ajayi's chronic knee issues and the possibility Clement isn't ready for an increased role.
Blount also proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that he could fit in as a situational player after Ajayi arrived.
"We knew that we had added a playmaker to our room with Jay," he explained. "A Pro Bowler. A guy that’s rushed for multiple 200 yards games. A hard runner. Make guys miss in space. We knew we added another playmaker to our room, so obviously, we were going to welcome him with open arms."
Blount may have to wait a bit for Howie Roseman to juggle the cap a bit because the Eagles are expected to be about $9 million over the projected 2018 number before any personnel moves are made.
And he may be willing to do exactly that.
"You know, they talked to me throughout the process of [the trade] happening," Blount said. "... that’s a big respect thing. And like I said, Duce is the first person to reach out to me and be like ‘Hey, we traded for Jay Ajayi. I just wanted to let you know.’ So again, man, that’s why it’s a place that I love. I just hope to stay there."
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973espn.com. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @JFMcMullen