New England Patriots
LeGarrette Blount and Le'Veon Bell still buds despite Blount quitting on Steelers
New England Patriots

LeGarrette Blount and Le'Veon Bell still buds despite Blount quitting on Steelers

Published Jan. 19, 2017 6:43 p.m. ET

LeGarrette Blount could be running for the Pittsburgh Steelers instead of against them in Sunday's AFC Championship game, but the bruising running back couldn't come to grips with sharing carries with Le'Veon Bell.

Blount infamously walked back to the locker room by himself during the closing minutes of a 204-yard performance by Bell in November 2014, and the Steelers released him two days later. But the two have remained friends despite their inability to coexist as teammates.

"This game doesn't last as long as any friendship would," Blount told reporters this week. "This game is limited. You never know when it's over. Friendships last forever. He's one of the guys that I'm going to continue to talk to for a really long time."

While Bell emerged as a star that season, he suffered an injury that sidelined him as the Steelers lost in the playoffs. Blount, meanwhile, rejoined New England and won a Super Bowl, then had a career year this past season, rushing for 1,161 yards and a league-leading 18 TDs, including two in a 27-16 win at Pittsburgh in October.

However, Bell has been able to forgive Blount, if not forget what he did.

"It made me think a little more differently (about him)," Bell told reporters. "But LeGarrette's doing his thing."

Bell will text with his former teammate, but there still are sore feelings on the Steelers.

"For him to walk out on his team, yeah it hurt," right tackle Marcus Gilbert told reporters. "Whenever LeGarette Blount was over here, it was hard for him to fit into the offense because Le'Veon was on such a roll. He wanted more touches. It was just hard."

Blount, meanwhile, isn't talking about his old team.

In a twist, Blount now finds himself in the same situation with the late-season return of Dion Lewis, who came back from a torn ACL and stole in the show in the Patriots' playoff win over Houston, becoming the first player to score on a pass, a run and a kick return in the postseason. Over the past month he has 59 carries, Blount 58.

Like the Patriots, the Steelers have had success with two backs this season, as DeAngelo Williams filled in while Bell served a season-opening suspension. But Bell's brilliance put Williams on the bench as soon as he returned.

"I've never seen anyone do that — to be as effective as he is," Blount said of Bell, who had 21 carries for 81 yards and 10 catches for 68 in the teams' October matchup. "It's just something that he does. It's his style. That's all I can really say about it. You can't really describe what he can do."

Both will be free agents this offseason.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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