Steelers sign Blount, fill need at RB
The Steelers overcame one of their biggest hurdles to address one of their biggest needs, and now they have a proven running back in LeGarrette Blount to back up Le'Veon Bell.
Despite having only $1.352 million in available salary cap space, according to the players' union, the Steelers came away Friday with the last remaining accomplished running back in free agency by signing Blount to a $3.85 million, two-year contract.
The deal, announced by the Steelers after Blount underwent a physical and toured the team's South Side complex, includes a cap-friendly $950,000 signing bonus, according to figures to be filed with the NFLPA.
Steelers coach Mike Tomlin made it clear during the annual NFL meetings in Orlando, Fla., this week that securing an experienced running back was a priority, and he preferred to do it by Friday.
“Obviously, we needed to add depth in that area,” said Tomlin, who added the 6-foot, 250-pound Blount's resume “speaks for itself.”
That resume includes a 1,000-yard rookie season with Tampa Bay in 2010, 2,711 career rushing yards and 20 touchdowns in four seasons, nine career 100-yard games and two of the NFL's best games last season, against Buffalo (189 yards, two TDs) and Indianapolis (166 yards, four TDs).
The Steelers couldn't finalize a deal when free agent Maurice Jones-Drew visited for two days last week. After Jones-Drew reached terms with Oakland on Thursday night, Blount became even more valuable to the Steelers because there were few other options available at a position at which they badly needed help.
Blount becomes the fifth player to sign with the Steelers during an uncommonly busy free agent signing period for them, joining safety Mike Mitchell, wide receiver Lance Moore, linebacker Arthur Moats and defensive lineman Cam Thomas.
Blount, who is 27, arrived in Pittsburgh late Thursday, met with Tomlin and offensive coordinator Todd Haley and reached the deal before the close of business Friday.
He gives the Steelers an effective power runner to support Bell, who is coming off a strong rookie season in which he had 860 yards rushing and 399 yards receiving. However, they started 0-4 last season, in part, because they had no running game with Bell injured for their first three games. And when backup Jonathan Dwyer left to sign with Arizona this month, the Steelers didn't have a running back with an NFL carry other than Bell.
Blount rushed for 1,007 yards as an undrafted rookie out of Oregon in 2010 but fell out after of favor two seasons later after Greg Schiano became the Bucs coach. Blount was traded to New England, and in his only season with the Patriots, he ran for 772 yards, 1 yard behind team leader Stevan Ridley, and averaged 5 yards per carry as a part-time starter.
He missed most of his 2009 senior season at Oregon after a highly-publicized incident in which he threw a punch at a Boise State player. With Tampa Bay, he was fined for being late to meetings, apparently one reason he lost his starting job to Doug Martin.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Former Steelers kicker Reed doesn’t like new NFL PAT rule
- Steelers’ Heyward looking to stay for long haul
- Steelers offensive line targeting injury-free performance as key
- Steelers interested in playing internationally again
- Steelers claim QB-turned-WR Gardner
- Kentucky coach Stoops praises Steelers’ Dupree
- Former Steelers linebacker Robinson dies
- NFL moves PAT back to 15-yard line