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- The Pittsburgh Steelers released LeGarrette Blount on Nov. 18.
- Blount left the field early after Pittsburgh’s 27-24 win over the Tennessee Titans.
- He was upset because he did not play.
The Pittsburgh Steelers released running back LaGarrette Blount after he left field before the end of the Steelers’ 27-24 win over the Tennessee Titans on Nov. 17. He was reportedly upset at his lack of playing time.
The Steelers issued a press release on their official website on Nov. 18:
“‘We believe the decision to release LeGarrette is in the best interest of the organization and wish him the best of luck,’ Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin said.
“Blunt joined the Steelers as a free agent on March 28. He played in each of the team’s 11 games in 2014, rushing for 266 yards on 65 carries with two touchdowns and added six catches for 36 yards.”
According to The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Ray Fittipaldo, Blount left the locker room early after the team’s 27-24 win over the Tennessee Titans on Monday. Fittipaldo says “Blount was upset because he was not used in the game”:
“The Steelers have released running back LeGarrette Blount less than a day after he left the team’s sideline before the completion of the team’s 27-24 comeback win Monday night over Tennessee.
“…Many players on the team welcomed the decision Tomlin made and said the team will be better for it. The Steelers signed practice squad running back Josh Harris, an undrafted rookie from Wake Forest, to take Blount’s spot on the active roster.
“Blount was upset because he was not used in the game. Starting running back Le’Veon Bell rushed for 204 yards and sparked an 11-point fourth-quarter comeback.
“‘You know what, man, we have a good team,’ said center and team captain Maurkice Pouncey. ‘If you don’t want to be here, don’t be here. At the end of the day you have your decision to make as a man, and he made it.’
“Pouncey said Blount’s release was ‘a blessing in disguise.’
“‘We’re fine,’ Pouncey said. ‘We have our starting running back. It’s probably a good thing that it happened. At the end of the day, if it was a cancer, he ended up leaving on his own. That’s a blessing for us. At the end of the day, we’re good. We don’t need him.’
“Others echoed Pouncey’s sentiments. Star receiver Antonio Brown said the Steelers have a tradition to uphold and there is a ‘zero tolerance’ policy for selfishness.
“‘After the win, guys should be excited,’ Brown said. ‘Guys should be embracing the thing we got going. It’s hard to get wins in the NFL. It’s a bad situation.’
“Brown said he considered Blount a friend and spoke to him early Tuesday morning.
“‘I hate to see him do something like that and have to cause the result,’ Brown said. ‘As a competitor, he let his emotions get the best of him. He got outside the grand scheme of things that are really important. What’s important is we play as a team; you embrace your teammates; you ride together. When we win it should be positive.’
“‘I know him,’ Mitchell said. ‘I know he’s not a selfish guy. His feelings were hurt. I tried to get him to not do that, but he’s a grown man.’
“Before Blount was released several players voiced their displeasure about the situation.
“On his weekly show on 93.7 The Fan, quarterback and team captain Ben Roethlisberger said he did not want to rush to judgment on the situation and wanted to learn more facts. If true, however, he said ‘it is disturbing.’
“When asked if Blount could be forgiven, Roethlisberger said: ‘Um, I think so. It will be tough if it was out of pure selfishness…That’s not who the Pittsburgh Steelers are.’
“Roethlisberger indicated Tomlin addressed the situation briefly Monday night before the team departed back to Pittsburgh.
“‘I don’t think it’s something coach will take lightly. He knows how important team is and camaraderie…It’s a tough situation he’s going to be in, but that’s why he’s our head coach,’ Roethlisberger said. ‘He’ll make the decision that’s best for the team. As players we’ll live with it and make it work whatever it is.'”
Fittipaldo points out this is not the first time this season Blount was involved in a controversy. He and fellow running back Le’Veon Bell were cited for marijuana possession in August. Blount also got involved in a fight between Roethlisberger and linebacker Vince Williams during training camp. Blount had to be restrained by head coach Mike Tomlin when he got into it with assistant coach Joey Porter during the same incident.
Back in college, Blount was suspended by the Oregon Ducks for punching a Boise State Broncos player, per Fittipaldo. He spent his first three pro seasons with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers before signing with the New England Patriots in 2013.