The beef is back in the Patriots backfield.
LeGarrette Blount signed a one-year contract Tuesday to return to New England, a league source confirmed.
According to NFL Network, the pact is for $760,000 in base salary with a $100,000 signing bonus, a $100,000 roster bonus, and $1 million in incentives.
The 6-foot, 250-ish-pound bruising tailback rushed 165 times for 703 yards and 6 touchdowns in 2015, but his season was cut short because of hip injury suffered in a Week 14 victory in Houston. He was sorely missed as the New England ground game was virtually nonexistent down the stretch and into the playoffs.
The news is a sign the team is satisfied with Blount’s recuperation.
In parts of three seasons in New England, Blount has rushed 378 times for 1,756 yards and 16 TDs. He rushed for 1,939 yards in three seasons with Tampa Bay before arriving in Foxborough via trade in 2013.
He left for Pittsburgh as a free agent following that season but was released after 11 games and almost immediately signed back up with the Patriots, whom he helped lead to a win in Super Bowl XLIX over the Seahawks.
One of the most popular players in the locker room, Blount’s off-field persona is as big as his on-field presence.
Blount later tweeted a montage of pictures of himself celebrating as a Patriot (including one big one of him hugging tight end Rob Gronkowski) with the message “Them boys up to somethin #Quake&Shake #PatsNation.’’
Gronkowski, a locker room neighbor tweeted back, “I see you!! Welcome back once again.’’
Blount’s re-signing provides depth to running back corps that includes Dion Lewis, James White, Brandon Bolden, Donald Brown, and Joey Iosefa.
Washington catches on
Nate Washington has played with a ton of quarterbacks over the course of his 11-year career. In fact, Washington’s teams have featured seven starters in the last two seasons.
In 2014, the Titans started Zach Mettenberger, Jake Locker, and Charlie Whitehurst. Last season, his one and only with the Texans, Washington worked with Brian Hoyer, Ryan Mallett, T.J. Yates, and Brandon Weeden.
Although the common perception might be that that kind of inconsistency can wear on a receiver, Washington has seen it as a benefit.
“Surprisingly, I think that’s helped me tremendously,” Washington said. “People tend to talk about continuity between a quarterback and a wide receiver so much, knowing the guy. But there’s also a requirement to do your job, be in the place you’re supposed to be in at the time you’re supposed to be there. With so many changes with the guy behind center for me, it’s given me the opportunity to make sure I’m doing my part being in the right place at the right time.”
Now, however, Washington gets the chance to be in the right place at the right time with Tom Brady, one of the game’s all-time best. Suffice it to say, Washington’s looking forward to establishing a quick rapport with his new signal-caller.
“The one thing that I’m most excited about is playing alongside a guy that has a tremendous amount of passion for what he does,’’ said Washington, who has collected 458 catches for 6.954 and 44 TDs over his career. “Growing up in this league, you understand everybody is not built that way.”
Washington said after speaking with people around the league, he’s more convinced than ever that signing with New England was the right move. He pointed to Patriots Hall of Famer Willie McGinest as somebody who spoke in glowing terms about the organization.
“I had a chance to talk to him a couple of weeks ago once he found out that I signed and the No. 1 thing that he just told me is, ‘It’s going to be good for you because they are going to pay attention to the details and they’re going to get you in the aspect of making sure that you’re pushing yourself every single day.’
“Those guys in that locker room — they work hard every single day and don’t take a day off. And those coaches: they work hard every single day and don’t take a day or a minute off.’’
Pair in fold
In two expected transactions, the Patriots announced that cornerback Justin Coleman and safety/special teams demon Brandon King signed their exclusive rights free agent tenders. Both join the team as undrafted rookies last season.