LeGarrette Blount was praised by many Detroit Lions fans as the best free agency pickup by the team this offseason. Blount’s addition fills a significant need for a big back that can pick up third-and-shorts and also provide a pretty big boost on first downs, as well.
You may think it was hard for the Lions to recruit a guy like Blount, who averaged 4.4 yards per carry with the Eagles last year and has 21 touchdowns in the last two seasons. But according to general manager Bob Quinn, Blount was sold on Detroit from the minute he stepped on Michigan soil. He gave more background on the signing during Monday’s fan summit at Ford Field. From the Detroit Free Press (emphasis mine):
“I’ll give you guys a little behind the scenes, he came in and he really wanted to be here, I’ll say that,” Quinn said. “He was really, really excited about the direction of this team, the direction of the ownership, management, with Coach Patricia in the fold. We spent a long day negotiating and LG wouldn’t leave until he signed the contract. So it was a great day. Real excited about what he’s going to bring. Just seeing him around the building today, the leadership he brings, he knows how to win. That’s the bottom line.”
Quinn’s statement echoes what Blount said during his introductory press conference last month. Blount mentioned how his previous “great” relationship with head coach Matt Patricia played a huge part in signing with Detroit. “You know, it’s a lot more comforting,” Blount said about playing under a familiar coach like Patricia. “There’s a lot less pressure on me. When you’re signing somewhere, (it’s nice to have) a coach that has a relationship like me and Matty P have. Obviously when I got the call, I was excited for the simple fact it was Matty P and to have the opportunity to play for him.”
And obviously the enthusiasm was mutual there. In fact, a few weeks ago Quinn admitted that the Lions would have liked to sign Blount in 2017, but it didn’t come together and the veteran running back signed a one-year deal with the Eagles.
But with Patricia now on board, it was enough to sway Blount to emphatically sign with Detroit this offseason. That seems to be a pattern with the players the Lions have signed thus far this offseason. Both Devon Kennard and Christian Jones mentioned Patricia as part of the reason they signed in Detroit.
With the recruiting stage of the offseason nearing its end, it will now be Patricia’s job to turn these players into productive pieces. With offseason workouts already underway, that process has already begun.