The increased publicity that comes along with being an elite college athlete certainly has its benefits. You can gain tons of notoriety, and build a following before ever stepping foot on an NFL field.
Along with the increased exposure, however, comes increased scrutiny. And for Oregon’s LeGarrette Blount, that turned out to be extremely costly.
Entering the season, Blount was expected to be one of the premier prospects in college football, and was considered among the most talented running backs in the country. Unfortunately for him, it took only one game for his senior season to unravel.
At the conclusion of an frustrating loss to Boise State, in which he was held to minus-5 yards on eight carries, he made a critical mistake. He threw a sucker punch at the Broncos’ Byron Hout. Hout had been getting in his face and talking trash, when Blount punched him from behind as he turned to walk away.
Making matters worse, Blount then got into a shoving match with one of his teammates trying to pull him away, and nearly came to blows with some boisterous fans.
TV cameras captured the entire episode, and Blount was a pariah for weeks. Eventually things died down, however, and Blount returned to the Ducks after a 10-game suspension.
Now, Blount is determined to move beyond the incident and make people see him in a different light.
“I don’t want everybody to see me as a bad person, an angry guy, or just a mean person in general,” Blount said.
“I want everybody to know that LeGarrette Blount is a nice, laid-back, all-around chillin’ guy.”
Blount knows the incident created doubts about his character and wants to prove it was an isolated occurrence.
“I’m going to have to answer it everywhere I go, I want to get that behind me as soon as possible,” said Blount.
“I think everybody knows that it was just a one-time thing and that it won’t happen again.”