August 19, 2010
The Tennessee Titans rookie running back took a swing at teammate Eric Bakhtiari(notes) after a testy practice on Wednesday night during which numerous Titans players scuffled with one another, according to The Tennessean. Blount was the ball carrier on one play and had his helmet ripped off as the action was whistled dead. He stormed away to the end zone while other players pushed and shoved, seemingly avoiding any conflict. But when Blount walked back to the scrum, defensive end Eric Bakhtiari whispered something in his ear, Blount gave him a shove and then punched him in the facemask, a scene very similar to what happened last September when he was at Oregon and he clocked Boise State linebacker Byron Hout after the game.
Blount immediately apologized to Titans coach Jeff Fisher, saying he promised to put this behind him. Fisher accepted the apology.
"I am not disappointed whatsoever," Fisher said. "His past is his past. [...] I have great confidence in the young man that he has learned from his mistake and is very competitive."
[Photos: See more of the Titans feisty rookie]
The running back went undrafted out of Oregon, likely because of concerns about his attitude. He had been suspended for the rest of the season following the punch, but was reinstated in November after missing eight games.
Blount feels like his past draws him unwanted attention. "Two plays in a row they pulled my helmet off intentionally, and then they did it again,'' he said. "They almost do it every day. They kept egging on and provoking till it got to a certain point.''
What Blount has to realize is that he's going to get provoked, especially by players on opposing teams. He has a history and other players will try to exploit it to draw a penalty on him. If the running back can't control his emotions when a teammate whispers something in his ear, what's he going to do when a member of a division rival does it, and likely says something much, much worse?
Wednesday had been the first day back at pratice for Blount, who was attending the funeral of his grandmother.
He later explained himself to the media:
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