LeGarrett Blount didn't take a season-opening loss to Boise State well in 2009. That's putting it mildly.
After the loss, Blount punched Boise State player Byron Hout, sending him to his knees while Blount was restrained by teammates and coaches, who escorted him to the locker room. That mistake cost Blount eight games, the suspension waged by Ducks coach Chip Kelly. But now, almost five months after that incident was played over and over again, Blount is getting another chance to prove himself in front of NFL scouts and coaches at the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala. Interestingly, he is the best running back in Mobile this week.
The Vikings are no strangers to supposedly controversial draft picks, as they selected former Florida running back/receiver Percy Harvin in the first round of the draft last year despite his positive test for marijuana at the NFL Scouting Combine last February. The Vikings spent a lot of time and resources getting to know Harvin and became convinced that he was a risk worth taking.
This week, the Vikings are getting to know all kinds of NFL prospects and Blount is one of them. He said he had an interview the Vikings earlier this week and spent time with about six staff members during an evening meeting.
Here is what Blount said he learned from his suspension and the second chance he is getting:
Q: Do you think what you went through made you even hungrier?
A: Oh yeah, definitely. I'm hungry. I'm being as patient as possible to get that chance to get out there and just show everybody what they missed in 2009.
Q: What did you learn by sitting out?
A: There wasn't anything for me to learn about myself, it was just I had to put a lot of things in perspective. I had to figure out that I couldn't do those things. I had to let everybody know that I wouldn't do those things again. It was just kind of heat of the moment. I just lost my emotions for a little bit. I've got to keep those under control and just let everybody know that I'm not going to give up on my dream.
Q: How much did you miss football at that time?
A: I missed it a lot. I wished that I could be out there practicing and playing with my team every day, all the way until I got back at practice and got that chance to play.
Q: Did you ever feel like you wouldn't get another chance?
A: I thought I wouldn't get another chance all the way until they told me they were going to give me another shot to get back on the team.
Q: What kind of feedback are you getting from coaches out here?
A: These NFL coaches, they don't really tell you how you're doing. They just kind of keep it to themselves, so they're not really giving me any feedback on how well I'm doing here or this week. So I'm just trying to keep up the tempo, keep practicing fast, practice hard, finish all my runs and just continue to do well.
Q: Do you worry about shedding the image that people have from that game?
A: No. I don't worry about shedding that image because I think that image is long gone. Now that I'm here, I think that image is long gone. It's going to continue to be on YouTube, it's going to continue to be on TV – every time you see my face on TV they're going to show that. But as far as personality-wise and everybody that knows me knows that image, the whole incident, is long gone.
Q: What are your goals as far as the draft goes?
A: My goal is to get drafted as high as possible.
Q: What is the ceiling on that from what your agent is telling you?
A: Me and my agent don't really talk about it. We just talk about me training, getting in shape for the (NFL Scouting) Combine, getting in better shape so I can run a faster 40. He just supports me in everything that I do. That's kind of why I chose him. My family loves him and that's a big reason why I chose him. Everybody that I interviewed had to go through my mom, my dad, my sister and my family before they could even get my interest. My parents loved him and I talked to him and I loved him. Today, everybody has a really good feeling for him. He's very family-oriented guy. He has a kid on the way here in the next month or so. He's going to have a little boy too, so it's going to be fun letting him grow up and getting to know each other.
Q: Which teams have you met with?
A: I probably met with all of them. I just meet with anybody that pulls me to the side and wants to talk with me.
Vikings meet with controversial Blount
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