“I had a chance to give him a big hug and I’m very proud of him,” Kelly said. “I told him he shouldn’t be defined by an incident that happened on Sept. 3rd, 2009, because that’s not the type of person LG is.”
At Oregon, Kelly referred Blount to former Indianapolis coach Tony Dungy for advice.
“He’s been through a lot,” Dungy told The Associated Press. “I do know that people at Oregon really respect him. He’s made the most of his second opportunity. He had to go through a lot to get reinstated and he did that. He took care of things and really did what he had to do and that showed me that he truly did want to succeed.”
But the punch and suspension prompted every team to bypass him in the draft. So he signed as a free agent with Tennessee. That’s where he threw a punch in training camp after his helmet was knocked off for the second straight play.
“He apologized, and I said he didn’t have to apologize,” Titans coach Jeff Fisher said then. “His past is his past. Is that the first punch you’ve seen in camp this year? No. I’m not disappointed whatsoever.”
They released him after camp, hoping to put him on the practice squad. But Tampa Bay signed him and he rushed for 1,007 yards as a rookie.
Buccaneers coaches felt Blount had trouble blocking, receiving and learning the playbook. And when they drafted running back Doug Martin in 2012, Blount’s days in Tampa Bay seemed numbered.
“The media can put you in whatever kind of light,” said Patriots cornerback Aqib Talib, who became friends with Blount when they were teammates at Tampa Bay. “He’s the same guy here, just a regular guy.”