By: Ian Logue
The Patriots found out recently that running back Jeff Demps heart seemed to be more into continuing his track career than playing football.
On Saturday they decided to let him do just that – albeit with another team.
According to published reports New England sent Demps to Tampa Bay in exchange for Buccaneers running back LeGarrette Blount along with a seventh round pick.
It’s somewhat disappointing but only because Demps showed so much promise during last year’s preseason. He showed explosive speed and agility both in the return game as well as his ability to make plays in the open field and really seemed poised to come back strong this year after a knee injury caused him to end up on injured reserve.
Unfortunately Demps decision to pursue his track and field career left seemed to leave them with no other choice other than to move on and now the Buccaneers will be left to carry around a player who’s NFL dreams are more of a “maybe” at this point judging by his agent’s comments recently.
For New England, Blount is a player who two seasons ago rushed for 1,007 yards on 201 carries and gives the Patriots some size and speed in their backfield. He’s 6’0″ 247 pounds and well over 20 pounds heavier than Stevan Ridley (5’11”, 220 pounds) and more than 40 pounds heavier than Shane Vereen (5’9″ 205 pounds).
How he’ll fit into the offense here in New England remains to be seen. Ridley is clearly the incumbent starter this year coming off of a season where he rushed for 1263 yards including 82 first downs and 12 touchdowns, so it will be interesting to see where Blount could fit in. If nothing else he provides them some additional depth and he seemingly could push Brandon Bolden for a roster spot. Otherwise it’s a minimal risk for a guy the Patriots know wants to play football compared to the guy they just let go of.
He does have some character issues and some may remember him from an incident following a loss to Boise State in college where he punched opponent Byron Hout as well as his own teammate, Garrett Embry, who was trying to restrain him.
The incident was caught on video on ESPN (seen below) and it got him suspended for the rest of the 2009 season.
After signing with the Tennessee Titans as an undrafted free agent, he had a similar incident as a rookie. In that altercation his own teammate ripped his helmet off by defensive end Eric Bakhtiari and Blount threw a punch which connected with Bakhtiari’s facemask. However, then head coach Jeff Fisher took Blount’s side after it happened and Blount apologized for his role in the incident.
He was later placed on waivers by the Titans with the intention of putting him on their practice squad, but Tampa Bay stole him away by claiming him off waivers.