Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Tampa Bay Buccaneers' LeGarrette Blount surprises with his athleticism


One glance at LeGarrette Blount is all it takes to notice the superhero-sized muscles and shoulders as wide as a boulevard. The Bucs running back and rookie sensation in the making is, after all, a rock-hard 247 pounds on his 6-foot frame. As a runner, he is powerful and intimidating. And nimble. Who knew a player so renowned for delivering punishment could be so fleet of foot? The more Blount plays, and the more Tampa Bay fans watch him, the more he reveals the depths of his game. No play was more emblematic of his diverse abilities than his late 48-yard run against the Cardinals on Sunday, the one on which he high-hurdled Arizona safety Kerry Rhodes before sticking a perfect landing and nearly outrunning cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, one of the fastest players in the NFL.

"I definitely like having that ability," said Blount, who finished the game with 120 yards and two touchdowns on 22 carries. "Being versatile is definitely a good thing in this league. The most versatile backs are always the smaller guys. Me being 250 pounds and being able to do some of the things they can still do — maintain my speed on long runs, make moves in the open field, use my vision to get where I need to go — it definitely helps … and it's definitely a big part of my game."

Imagine the surprise of the 212-pound Rhodes — he dived at Blount's legs presumably to avoid a helmet-rattling collision — when the running back cleared him with his leap without losing a step. What Rhodes and most defenders probably don't realize is Blount would prefer to avoid the collisions, too. And given his ability to move laterally (and vertically) with ease, he has options that don't involve vicious impacts.

Asked whether he prefers to run through or around a tackler, Blount answered unambiguously.

"I prefer to run around them because as a running back, your body can only take so many hits," he said. "I'd rather take the extra hit off my body. But if I had to, I wouldn't think twice about running over a guy."

Coach Raheem Morris isn't surprised by Blount's athleticism. He cited the many clips on the Internet that show Blount leaping over college opponents while at Oregon. But Morris knows backs Blount's size aren't usually associated with his sort of athletic feats.

"If you go back and look at his college tape, you see it wasn't the first person he jumped over," Morris said. "And it probably won't be the last."

Think of it, Morris said, sort of like the turbo button on a Madden video game. "It's his 'B' button," Morris joked. "It's kind of funny. … He's an athlete. He does a lot of things that are shocking."

So much so that apparently even Blount, 23, has to see them to believe them. Asked whether he has watched the replay of his leap over Rhodes, Blount smiled.

"A whole bunch of times," he said. "… I might rewind it occasionally. Maybe once or twice."

At this rate, there will be future highlights to appreciate. Blount has played extensively in just two games, but already he is fourth among rookies in rushing yards (222) and second to Detroit's Jahvid Best in touchdowns (three).

And the Bucs have been nothing but thrilled with his character to this point, something teams had reason to doubt given his infamous punch of a Boise State player last year while at Oregon.

That character was evident to the Bucs even before they claimed him off waivers from the Titans in September. In March, when the Bucs were holding prospect visits at One Buc Place, "he came up to sit in my office (and) may have been one of three guys out of 30 that wore a full suit," general manager Mark Dominik said.

Blount continued to distinguish himself at dinner that evening.

"Two days later I was down in the cafeteria and I saw the chef and I (said), 'How did it go?' " Dominik recalled. "He said, 'I didn't really notice a lot of them, but … there was one guy who actually walked around to every one of my employees and said thank you.' It was LeGarrette Blount."

These days, Blount isn't being nearly as reticent. He talks of how opponents struggle with their approach to tackling him.

"I think sometimes they're surprised (at my agility)," said Blount, who grew up in the north Florida town of Madison. "A lot of big linebackers want to come downhill and come with a full head of steam on a big running back like me. Usually, with them coming so fast, they're not going to be able to stop. So, I sidestep them."

Blount is so competitive he will even take on the good guys.

"I think I'm faster than most of our (defensive backs)," he says, only half-joking. "That's a challenge to whoever wants to step up."

Perhaps he will find some takers for that challenge, so long as they don't have to tackle him.

Times staff writer Rick Stroud contributed to this report. Stephen F. Holder can be reached at

Tampa Bay Buccaneers' LeGarrette Blount surprises with his athleticism 11/04/10 [Last modified: Thursday, November 4, 2010 11:30pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Thursday's Rays-Yankees game

    The Heater

    The 10 strikeouts look flashy, but RHP Chris Archer was not his sharpest Thursday. He allowed three runs on seven hits, including three straight in the two-run second and a Gary Sanchez homer in the third, and lasted only six innings, throwing 102 pitches.

  2. Rays fall to Yankees in 11 on Brett Gardner homer (w/ video)

    The Heater

    NEW YORK — The front office did its part Thursday, making two trades to bolster the roster in a push for the playoffs. But the Rays didn't follow up in a frustrating 6-5 11-inning loss to the Yankees.

    Rays reliever Andrew Kittredge stands on the mound and can only watch as the Yankees’ Brett Gardner starts to circle the bases after his walkoff home run leading off the 11th inning.
  3. Believe it! Rays are buyers, trade for reliever Dan Jennings and 1B/DH Lucas Duda

    The Heater

    NEW YORK — Dan Jennings' ability to render lefty hitters useless with a sinker that gets beaten into the ground and Lucas Duda's power to blast baseballs off and over outfield walls should make the Rays better.

    Lucas Duda
  4. Bucs' direction is decidedly up for first time in several years


    TAMPA — If you want to see a team give the Heisman Trophy stiff-arm to expectations, check out the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

    Tight end O.J. Howard, left, the Bucs’ first-round draft pick this year, was brought in to give QB Jameis Winston another big-play option.
  5. Rays at Yankees, 7:05 p.m. Friday, New York

    The Heater

    Tonight: at Yankees

    7:05, Yankee Stadium, New York

    TV/radio: Fox Sports Sun; 620-AM, 680-AM (Spanish)

    Tampa Bay Rays relief pitcher Austin Pruitt (50) in the dugout during the ninth inning of the game between the New York Yankees and the Tampa Bay Rays on Opening Day at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Sunday, April 2, 2017. The Tampa Bay Rays beat the New York Yankees 7-3.