ORLANDO – Running back LeGarrette Blount said shortly after signing with the Detroit Lions that his relationship with new head coach Matt Patricia played a factor in his decision.
Even though Patricia worked on the other side of the ball when they were both in New England, the two still formed a very good relationship.
"I'm very excited about having him around," Patricia said Tuesday of Blount. "He's just a great person to be around. This is a long, hard season, it's a grind, it's always good to have that guy that can walk into the building and kind of make everybody just pick back up for a second or two before you go back to work. He's great about all that stuff.
"Someone that brings a huge sense of culture and personality and toughness and just everything you want from a big back."
Blount can also run the ball a little bit, too.
He's a 245-pound steamroller who helped the Eagles to a Super Bowl title this past season, rushing for 766 yards (4.4 average) sharing the backfield with Jay Ajayi.
Blount rushed for 1,161 yards and 18 touchdowns as the lead back for the Patriots in 2016.
"I think on the field, all the things he brings kind of speaks for itself," Patricia said. "I think he's a guy that's extremely hard to tackle. He's a large man coming downhill. He also has the ability to get outside and get to the edge and now if you can get him out in those situations it's a whole different level of problem."
The Lions struggled to run the ball with any consistency last season, finishing last in the NFL in yards per game (76.3) and yards per attempt (3.4).
Detroit's leading rusher last season was Ameer Abdullah, who had 552 yards (3.3 average) and four touchdowns.
Blount, 31, and Abdullah are currently joined in the backfield by Theo Riddick, Zach Zenner, Tion Green and Dwayne Washington, though GM Bob Quinn could look to add to that group in a very deep and talented draft pool at running back.
What the running back room will ultimately look like in August is yet to be determined. One thing that is certain, however, is Patricia's belief that Blount will not only be a good veteran presence for the building and the locker room, but also someone who can help Detroit's run game get back on track.