ALLEN PARK, Mich. — Tom Brady hasn’t won three of the last four Super Bowls. Bill Belichick hasn’t, either. The Patriots fell just short in their quest last February, losing to the Eagles in Super Bowl LII.
Only two teams have accomplished the three-in-four-years feat — the early ’90s Cowboys and early 2000s Patriots. But there is one current NFL player who can also lay that claim.
He’s a 6-foot, 250-pound tank of a running back who has transformed from a locker-room malcontent into a good-luck charm.
And not only did LeGarrette Blount win his third ring in February — he did it against his former team, against many of his best friends.
“It was pretty sweet,” Blount said Tuesday. “It was really, really sweet.”
Blount is now two years removed from New England, and two years removed from a dream season in which he rushed for 1,161 yards and 18 touchdowns. He was an Eagle last year, and now he’s a Lion, signed by Detroit to help new coach Matt Patricia establish his program.
That Blount is still in the NFL is fairly remarkable. The Buccaneers gave up on him in 2013, trading him to the Patriots for next to nothing because he couldn’t keep his pad level low or fall in line with the coaching staff.
The Steelers gave up on Blount in 2014, releasing him midseason after he left the sideline before a game ended, frustrated about his lack of playing time. Twice the Patriots could have re-signed Blount in free agency (2014 and 2017), and both times they declined.
Yet Blount is still here, about to enter his ninth NFL season. He’s still a 250-pound battering ram, inflicting Blount Force Trauma on Lions teammates this training camp and competing with Theo Riddick, Kerryon Johnson, and Ameer Abdullah for carries in a crowded backfield.
Blount signed a one-year, $2 million deal (fully guaranteed) with Detroit in March, with the chance to earn another $2.5 million in incentives. He reunites with Patricia, who was with Blount in New England for most of the 2013 through 2016 seasons.
Even Blount is surprised he has lasted this long in the NFL.
“It’s definitely crazy. It’s a blessing,” Blount said after a joint practice with the Giants. “I’m trying to work on my Hall of Fame accolades.”
Blount shouldn’t hold his breath for an induction into Canton, with only two 1,000-yard seasons out of his eight. But the Lions hope Blount’s championship pedigree will rub off on the rest of the locker room. He has more Super Bowl rings (three) than the Lions do playoff wins since 1957 (one).
“It’s a lot of short offseasons,” Blount said. “In my wildest dreams, I couldn’t even imagine being in this position. I want to say less than 1 percent make it to this [NFL] level. I don’t even know what the percentage is for people winning the Super Bowl, but I’m sure it’s a lot less than that. It’s an extreme blessing.”
Blount had an amicable departure from New England after the 2016 season. The Patriots didn’t value his services on the free agent market last year, but he found a good spot with the Eagles, and there were no hard feelings.
But there’s no doubt that Blount enjoyed defeating the Patriots in Minnesota. He rushed 14 times for 90 yards and a touchdown, helping propel the Eagles to a 41-33 victory over his former team.
“It feels a lot more fun when you’re playing against a former team,” Blount said. “You know how close I was with the running backs there — Dion [Lewis], James [White], and Brandon [Bolden]. Those are the first people I saw after the game. They hugged me, they told me good job, I deserved it.”
Blount is now on his fifth NFL franchise in nine seasons, but feels comfortable in Detroit with Patricia running the show. A few of his former New England teammates are also in Detroit, including safety Tavon Wilson and linebacker Jonathan Freeny. Former Patriots Matt Cassel and Ricky Jean-Francois are also in Detroit now.
“It’s a familiar scene for me obviously because of Matty P’s background and my background with the Patriots,” Blount said. “I know how it goes. Tavon Wilson knows how it goes. I think this is a little bit new for a lot of guys, but guys are getting on board, so we’re happy about that.”
Even with the short offseason, Blount didn’t slow down over the summer. He held football camps on US military bases in Japan, Puerto Rico, and Panama with Pro Camps and Proctor & Gamble.
“You’re going to places where football is not big,” Blount said. “Those kids on the military bases, they don’t get to experience things like that. That was the big thing for me, just to be a part of something like that.”
Blount will face his old team again this September, a Week 3 home game against the Patriots on “Sunday Night Football.”
Blount wasn’t making any predictions for the Lions this year, but he likes what he sees out of his new team. If he brought his good luck to Detroit, maybe Blount can win his fourth ring in five years.
“We just hope that [Patricia] continues to try to improve us and make us better,” Blount said. “I can tell you that we have a really hard-working, hard-nosed football team that’s going to be pretty tough.”