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Blount looking for new footing with Patriots

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FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Running back LeGarrette Blount was a 1,000-yard rusher his rookie year for Tampa Bay in 2010, averaging five yards per carry. After a couple of lesser seasons, he is trying to recapture that stride with the New England Patriots.

Blount followed that 1,000-yard year with a less impressive, though still productive, 781 yards in 2011. Then the Buccaneers drafted Doug Martin last season, and Blount saw his opportunities on the field plummet.

He rushed just 41 times for 151 yards. This offseason, Tampa Bay traded the 26-year-old Blount to New England in a swap of running backs. The Patriots sent Jeff Demps and a seventh-round draft choice to the Bucs.

In his first extensive discussion with reporters as a member of the Patriots, Blount was asked Tuesday if he was surprised by the trade.

He smirked as he paused to find the right words.

"Uh, I mean ... I really don't pay too much attention to it," he claimed. "If it happened, it happened. If it didn't, it didn't. I'm just here to play football. I love the game and this is what I want to do, whether it's here or anywhere else."

So does that mean he asked to be dealt out of Tampa?

"Uh ... next question," he replied with a big smile and a laugh.

Blount's playfulness seemed to suggest that he's grateful for the fresh start in New England, even if he's not quite yet at the point where he feels secure in his new job.

"It's coming along, everything is new, especially for me," he said of learning the Patriots offense. "I'm going to continue trying to learn as much as I can while we're here. You have to do a lot of studying. As long as you stay in your playbook and just keep up with everybody else as OTAs go along, I'll be good."

Meanwhile, injuries and incompletions were the theme of the Tuesday workout behind Gillette Stadium as the Patriots held another OTA session that was open to the media.

Under sunny skies and warm but breezy weather, the offense struggled with dropped passes and too many other balls that simply fell incomplete as the passing game failed to get any consistency going, almost regardless of the personnel doing the work.

Several players also came up lame with a variety of injuries during the morning session.

Tight end Jake Ballard, cornerback Alfonzo Dennard and running back Stevan Ridley all suffered injuries during the practice session.

Ballard Limped to the sideline after making a nice catch on a pass from Tom Brady. He was favoring his left leg, which is a concern because that's the same leg on which he suffered an ACL tear that kept him out last season.

However, trainers appeared to be focusing on the ankle rather than the knee, and Ballard was able to get up and walk back to the sideline under his own power. Ballard was expected to take reps for Rob Gronkowski, who will undergo back surgery.

Dennard injured his left shoulder at the end of practice and was carted off the field for further examination. Bill Belichick even came over to talk with Dennard before he was taken away, making the injury appear serious enough for the head coach's attention.
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