Another Hatchet Job On LeGarrette BlountJuly 22nd, 2012
Joe’s often amazed by his brethren in the media. Some of their judgment calls are real stunners.
One example: Joe’s still not sure why every outlet that was so quick to write about Aqib Talib’s mother’s felony arrest in Texas couldn’t find a little space to write about how charges against her were dropped. For Joe, doing so seemed like common decency, but the media doesn’t always roll that way. Jermaine Phillips got similar treatment.
But now Joe reads Tampa Bay Times beat writer Rick Stroud’s
Greg Olson inspired anonymous source attack piece on LeGarrette Blount today, and Joe is shaking his head. Wasn’t the last Times assault on Blount enough?
Today Stroud ran with the many-months-old gossip of Blount’s tardiness issues.
His lack of commitment was startling to coaches from the day he was claimed off waivers from the Titans an undrafted rookie in 2010. For the first two weeks after being acquired by Tampa Bay, Blount, who was suspended at Oregon for punching a Boise State player, never made it to work on time and compiled fines of more than $15,000. Exasperated, then-coach Raheem Morris and general manager Mark Dominik ordered him to hire a car service with a driver to wake him up in the morning and transport him less than 3 miles from his apartment to One Buc Place. After a few weeks, they canceled the car service for one day. And Blount was late. He continued to need a driver to get to work in 2011. But his poor preparation habits also spread to the meeting room, where coaches said he would sometimes fall asleep. …
This “lack of commitment” Stroud writes about is really amusing to Joe. Funny how nobody complained about commitment when Blount got the rock in 2010, and when he finished with record numbers for an undrafted rookie back. If the guy needs a wake-up call and to be picked up in an executive SUV, who the hell cares if he’s racking up 1,000 yards and consistently tops in the league in yards after contact for RBs.
Funny how Blount’s alleged “lack of commitment” let him rehab and return quickly from a midseason MCL tear last year.
Also, the “sometimes fall asleep” line in meetings amuses Joe. Obviously, the room temperature was too high. But in all seriousness, Raheem Morris and Greg Olson, and to a lesser extent rockstar general Mark Dominik, had ample opportunity to suspend Blount for his bad acts, if they were as bad as Stroud leads us to believe.
Where was the suspension? Olson only ran the guy five times in the season opener. Surely that was a good game to suspend/sit Blount if he deserved it. Geno Hayes lost game time from multiple alarm-clock issues, so the precedent was there.
As Joe has written previously many times, if Blount was so bad — on the field, or off the field with alleged playbook issues — the Bucs could have punished him in numerous ways or cut him outright.
If Blount was such a villian, Joe’s quite confident Earnest Graham wouldn’t be sticking up for him.
Joe finds the timing of Stroud’s unsourced piece feels a little sinister, given that this particular gossip has been out there for months.