Steelers running back blunt about focusing on football
A defiant LeGarrette Blount refused to answer questions concerning the marijuana possession charges leveled against him and second-year running back Le'Veon Bell last week.
Instead, Blount opted to focus solely on football. He would only talk about the Steelers' final preseason game against the Carolina Panthers on Thursday night at Heinz Field.
Still, he had to sidestep questions about the charges. And once his legal problems are resolved, Blount is likely to deal with questions concerning a possible suspension for violating the NFL's policy and program for substances of abuse.
When asked if it'll be hard to put the incident behind him, an irritated Blount said, “I don't know what y'all talking about.”
As the Steelers and coach Mike Tomlin contemplate what to do about Blount and Bell, the league and union executives refused to comment Wednesday. An NFL spokesman said only that “we're not able to get into specifics of individual cases.”
Blount, who has carried the ball only 13 times during the preseason, said Tuesday he expects to see at least minimum action against Carolina.
“I'm looking forward to playing the game because they have a good defense,” said Blount, who signed a two-year deal with the Steelers in March. “They have two of the best inside linebackers in the game.
“They (coaches) haven't told me how much I'm going to play. So I'm going to play as if I'm going to play the whole game.”
“There are a few things we haven't tuned up or put in because it's preseason,” Blount said. “We're facing guys that we're going to play in the regular season, so we don't want to show them too much. Hopefully, we'll put up a lot of points with this offense. For sure, I'm ready to play.”
Blount's still trying to work out a few perceived weaknesses that have followed him from Tampa Bay to New England to Pittsburgh — inconsistent pass-blocking and questionable receiving skills.
“There's been a huge emphasis on my ability to pass block,” he said. “We have Ben (Roethlisberger) back there, so for him to lead us to the promised land, we can't let him get hurt. I've been working on blocking the entire camp.
“I've been picking up the protections and pass game well. I had to focus on those things because I've been labeled as not being a pass-catching back. I want to make sure that I can do these things from the jump.”
Blount has only 23 career receptions, including two with New England in 2013.
“If you're a running back playing at this level, you can obviously run the football,” Blount said. “It's the other things you do that separate you from everyone else, and I'm still working on those things a little bit.”
Blount is working on rebuilding the trust of his teammates following last week's incident. But he's confident the Steelers have moved on as they prepare for their regular-season opener against Cleveland on Sept. 7.
“I came in and made friends with a lot of guys,” Blount said. “I'm really close with Le'Veon, AB (wide receiver Antonio Brown) and LT (linebacker Lawrence Timmons). It's been a good process from the beginning. I'm going to be excited to get the season started.”
Ralph N. Paulk is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.