Questions have been raised this week in Phoenix about whether Patriots running back LeGarrette Blount purposely got himself cut by the Steelers with the knowledge that if he left Pittsburgh, he could return to New England.
Blount was waived by the Steelers in November after walking off the field before the end of a game, and the Patriots re-signed him that week. That has resulted in stories with headlines like, “The other Patriots conspiracy theory: LeGarrette Blount’s scheme to reunite with Bill Belichick?” A segment on Pardon the Interruption discussed whether tampering rules were violated by the Patriots, who let Blount know he’d have a place to play if he got cut by the Steelers.
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported that Blount answered with a soft “No” and shook his head when asked if he orchestrated his exit from the Steelers. Blount wouldn’t answer whether he knew the Patriots wanted him back before he left the Steelers.
But the conspiracy theories don’t make a lot of sense. Even if Blount was purposely acting out because he was unhappy in Pittsburgh, he had no way of knowing for sure that his act would result in the Steelers waiving him. It could have just as easily resulted in the Steelers suspending him or benching him, options that wouldn’t have had the desired effect. And the Patriots didn’t even claim Blount on waivers after Pittsburgh waived him. Some other team could have claimed him, which would have prevented Blount from getting back to New England.
So while it worked out well in the end for both Blount and the Patriots, that doesn’t mean it was planned in advance. A conspiracy theory makes for a good topic of conversation during Super Bowl week — even a conspiracy theory that doesn’t add up.