Maurkice Pouncey on ‘cancer’ LeGarrette Blount’s release: ‘Blessing in disguise’
The Pittsburgh Steelers responded quickly to a budding controversy that arose when LeGarrette Blount turned his back on his teammates Monday night by releasing the disgruntled running back on Tuesday.
Blount left the bench and walked off the field during the Steelers’ 27-24 victory over the Tennessee Titans on Monday night, apparently demonstrating his unhappiness over only getting one carry in the game.
Now Blount, who was signed by the Steelers to a $3.85 million deal in March, will get no further carries with the team. And if Steelers center Maurkice Pouncey’s opinion of Blount’s release is any indication of the general sentiment inside the locker room, Blount better not have let the door hit him on the behind on the way out.
In other words, good riddance.
Head coach Mike Tomlin reportedly informed players of Blount’s release on Tuesday and according to Pittsburgh Post-Gazette report, “players welcomed it.”
Pouncey reportedly referred to it as a “blessing in disguise.”
“You know what, man, we have a good team,” Pouncey said. “If you don’t want to be here, don’t be here. At the end of the day, you have your decision to make as a man, and he made it.”
The center insisted that the Steelers are ready to move on without Blount and are in fact better off for it, despite the slight distraction.
“We’re fine,” Pouncey said. “We have our starting running back. It’s probably a good thing that it happened. At the end of the day, if it was a cancer, he ended up leaving on his own. That’s a blessing for us. At the end of the day, we’re good. We don’t need him.”
Wide receiver Antonio Brown echoed Pouncey’s sentiments, saying the team has “zero tolerance” for the kind of shenanigans Blount pulled on Monday night.
“After the win, guys should be excited,” Brown said. “Guys should be embracing the thing we got going. It’s hard to get wins in the NFL It’s a bad situation.”
Brown said he considers Blount a friend and is disappointed to see him go, but the good of the team takes precedence over any personal bonds with a fellow player.
“I hate to see him do something like that and have to cause the result,” Brown admitted, saying he spoke with Blount on Tuesday. “As a competitor, he let his emotions get the best of him. He got outside the grand scheme of things that are really important. What’s important is we play as a team; you embrace your teammates, you ride together. When we win, it should be positive.”
The Steelers (7-4) rebounded nicely on Monday night against the Titans following a surprising loss to the New York Jets in their previous game. The team can credit running back Le’Veon Bell and his 33-carry, 204-yard game for getting back to winning ways, the kind of dominant rushing performance that made the release of Blount that much easier.
(photo credit: AP/Gene J. Puskar)