March 13, 2010
It's a sad-but-true fact -- while accusations are printed in large type on the front page, corrections tend to fall below the fold. So it has been with Oregon running back LeGarrette Blount, who's been trying to move past the one resounding image most have of him -- as the guy who sucker-punched Boise State defensive end Byron Hout after a 19-8 loss in September. Previously suspended by his team for missing voluntary workouts and showing up for spring practices 20 pounds overweight, Blount was a handful before then. But after missing 10 games of the 2009 season due to suspension, he played in his final two as a Duck. He then started the road back with an impressive Senior Bowl week and NFL scouting combine. People were looking to his Pro Day on the 11th as a further indicator that Blount was on the right path.
And then, for whatever reason, Blount simply "blew off" his pro day. As expected, all heck broke loose. It was first reported by NFL.com's Gil Brandt, who's as dialed in as anyone and has been in the league since Moses wore short pants. So when he classified Blount as a no-show, that's what went out to the world. Many respected reporters furthered the story, which was all they could do, as that was the only story out there.
Just two problems: Oregon has two pro days (the second one is on March 18), and it was always Blount's intention to work out then. I have no idea why Blount's people didn't make that more clear; what did they think people were going to assume when he didn't show and there was no explanation? And how much did it hurt his stock, through no fault of his own? Especially when his ex-teammates are getting pinched and suspended right and left, and the Oregon program is in the news for all the wrong reasons? According to most who have talked to him recently, Blount's attempts to turn his life around have been genuine.
"People talked to him at (the) Senior Bowl, I talked to him," one pro scout told Aaron Fentress of the Oregonian. "He seemed like he did a pretty good job. He was pretty honest with himself and the whole situation. I think with him he's got to demonstrate what type of condition he's going to be in physically." Scouts were intrigued with his productive north-south running style, not a characteristic shared by a lot of backs in this draft class. "He's a guy who kind of builds speed as he goes but once he gets going he's fast enough. If you're looking for a bigger back he's a good one. There's not a lot of them out there."
There is now a small addendum at the bottom of Brandt's blog entry ...
UPDATE: Blount will be working out on March 18. His agent, Ken Sarnoff, confirmed to NFL Network's Jason La Canfora that the plan was for him to work out next Thursday all along, although not all scouts were clear on that fact.
... but in today's quick-hit news cycle, how many people will go back to read it? Blount will have to wait until the 18th and hope there's as much attention focused on his actual attendance.
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