Former Patriots running back LeGarrette Blount has agreed to two-year deal with the Pittsburgh Steelers.
The deal was first reported by the Baltimore Sun’s Aaron Wilson.
The veteran running back’s stock rose this winter after ending the 2013 season on a strong note, rushing for 189 yards and two touchdowns against the Buffalo Bills in Week 17. He followed that up with a historic performance in the AFC Divisional Round against the Indianapolis Colts, rushing for 166 yards and four touchdowns. The Patriots had interest in re-signing Blount, according to a source, but the Steelers were more proactive in trying to sign him.
Blount, 27, finished the 2013 regular season with 772 rushing yards and seven touchdowns. But most importantly, he wrested away the leading tailback role from Stevan Ridley, who lost four fumbles over the course of the season.
The Patriots have Ridley, Shane Vereen, and Brandon Bolden at running back now.
Blount made $680,000 in 2013 after being traded from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for Jeff Demps and a seventh round draft choice.
Ridley, in an interview with NFL Network two weeks ago, said he was ready to take back the role of the lead running back if Blount weren’t to return.
“I know I had the opportunity last year, I kind of slipped up on that,” Ridley said. “But I think coach is going to come back to me, he’s going to put it in my hands, and it’s gonna be all up to me, what I do with it.”
Ridley added: “I’ll have a group of guys with me though. It’s not going to be just me alone. Shane Vereen is exceptional, catching the ball and running as well out the backfield. Brandon Bolden, who contributes as well heavily on special teams, but he’s also in there as well. Those are three guys I know right now are going to be there for sure.
“Hopefully Blount rolls back in. But if not, we have a core group of guys that are young, we know how each other work, and we like the back field that we have. So I’m going to step up and do my job as a player and try and develop into a leader that I need to be for this team to be successful in this upcoming season.”
[Photo: Al Bello/Getty Images]