After a bad breakup with the Steelers, LeGarrette Blount was thrilled to be welcomed back to New England in November of 2014.
However, when he returned to practice, his old No. 29 uniform wasn’t waiting for him. On “The Patriots Report” podcast with Christopher Price, Blount said he weighed in at 258 pounds upon returning to Foxborough — for perspective, the big back was at 241 coming out of college — so Bill Belichick had a different jersey waiting for him.
“They gave me number 60 my first day of practice. Bill was like, ‘You’re going to be on the line until you get back to the playing weight,'” Blount said. “But I started [at running back] that Sunday… I enjoyed it with him. I love Bill to death.”
Blount went on to win two Super Bowls over the next three seasons with the Patriots, and sits fifth on their all-time rushing touchdowns list. His career in New England was undoubtedly a success — but it didn’t start that way every summer.
The running back said he probably passed the team’s annual conditioning test once on the first try.
For skill position players, it was 20 sprints of 60 yards that had to be done in 10 seconds or less, per Blount. “Mid-skill” guys had 50 yards to run, and linemen were at 40. Because of Blount’s size — he was roughly 30 pounds heavier than the next closest skill-position player — he advocated to run with James Develin and the mid-skill group to no avail.
“I argued until my face turned red,’ Blount said. ‘I was like Bill, man, what’s up? I’m outweighing everyone.’ But he was like, ‘You’re a skill position. So you need to be in shape like the other skill positions.'”
Of course, every summer he passed eventually.
And the most surprising player Blount has seen at the conditioning test?
“Vince Wilfork,” he said without hesitation. “Every single time [he passed]. Never seen him fail it. And Vince is a big man. I have yet to see Vince fail that conditioning test, man, he goes out there and he runs it and I’m like, ‘How? How?’ Because obviously he has a huge stomach. V is just not like the stature of great body structure. Vince could dunk a basketball. Vince could run those 20 sprints like it’s nothing… Vince Wilfork is probably one of the most impressive guys I’ve been around.”
Story by Chris Mason, masslive.com