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RB Blount is excited about playing time prospects with Steelers

| Thursday, June 12, 2014, 9:27 p.m.
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Steelers running back LeGarrette Blount runs during OTA practice Wednesday, June 11, 2014 on the South Side.

Tom Brady one season, Ben Roethlisberger the next. Bill Belichick one season, Mike Tomlin the next.

LeGarrette Blount must feel like he's on board the AFC Super Bowl tour, riding along from one successful franchise to another — and with a franchise quarterback and coach at each stop.

“It's different cultures, it's different playing styles, but they both win,” Blount said. “They're different about it, but they both win games.”

There's just one difference: There aren't as many passengers along for the ride in Pittsburgh as there were in New England.

The 6-foot-1, 245-pound Blount hopes to be the power runner back the Steelers have lacked since the Jerome Bettis days, a high-average, high-production back who could be the perfect complement to the faster Le'Veon Bell.

“He's a slasher, he can get upfield quick and he's fast. I think he runs a 4.4, 4.39 (in the 40),” Blount said Thursday as the Steelers wrapped up their three weeks' worth of pre-minicamp practices. “He can move.

“My style? I don't do too much dancing, I pretty much run the ball between the tackles and do what I can when I get an open field. We're two totally different running styles.”

To Blount, the Steelers' running back package – with rookie Dri Archer thrown in as a quasi-receiver/runner — is preferable to New England's crowded, who's-getting-the-ball-this week backfield.

Last season, Blount had 772 yards, seven touchdowns and a 5.0 average while splitting time with Stevan Ridley, who had exactly one more yard and the same number of TDs.

But Brandon Bolden (55 carries) and Shane Vereen (44) also had nearly 100 carries between them. With so many options available, it meant that any running back who didn't produce early in a game got yanked.

When Blount carried from start to finish, he had a 189-yard, two-touchdown game against Buffalo and a 166-yard, four-touchdown playoff game against the Colts.

While Bell will start, Blount is certain what his role is going to be. And it's not likely to change from quarter to quarter — even if the Steelers and offensive coordinator Todd Haley are experimenting with him in a variety of ways during these May/June practices.

He's lined up multiple times with Bell in an old-style, two-back set and has even been in the slot or flanked outside. What he likes is that he's on the field a lot.

“I know that is going to be locked down, for sure — I know I'm going to run the football here,” Blount said. “All the other stuff is just added on to the pile, and I'm not going to turn it down because I want the ball any chance I get it.

“The numbers speak for themselves, I know I have a pretty high average,” said Blount, who signed a $3.85 million, two-year contract. “I feel like I have a pretty good body of work, a lot of credibility to my name.”

Going from one name-brand quarterback to another is proving easy, too.

“They've both won Super Bowls, but they're a lot different. Roethlisberger moves around a lot more than Tom does, but they're both great,” he said. “They both have their own style of play, for sure.”

And the two coaches?

“(Tomlin) seems like a cool dude and he's definitely about winning by any means necessary,” Blount said.

“I like him as a head coach. Bill, he, for sure, is going to tell you exactly what he wants from you and exactly what he needs from you.”

Alan Robinson is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at arobinson@tribweb.com or via Twitter @arobinson_Trib.

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