Rumblings of Legarrette Blount's lacking work ethic have appeared throughout his career, but they've never really been confirmed. Now, though, the Tampa Bay Times has some choice nuggets on Legarrette Blount's lacking work ethic. Most notably: he needs a driver to get to work on time, despite living just 3 miles from team facilities. Read and weep:
His lack of commitment was startling to coaches from the day he was claimed off waivers from the Titans an undrafted rookie in 2010. For the first two weeks after being acquired by Tampa Bay, Blount, who was suspended at Oregon for punching a Boise State player, never made it to work on time and compiled fines of more than $15,000. Exasperated, then-coach Raheem Morris and general manager Mark Dominik ordered him to hire a car service with a driver to wake him up in the morning and transport him less than 3 miles from his apartment to One Buc Place. After a few weeks, they canceled the car service for one day. And Blount was late. He continued to need a driver to get to work in 2011. But his poor preparation habits also spread to the meeting room, where coaches said he would sometimes fall asleep.
$15,000 in fines may not sound like much on an NFL salary, but keep in mind that Blount was playing on the league minimum salary in 2010 and 2011. The fact that Blount would fall asleep in meetings is hardly a good sign. That's not uncommon around the league, but it's especially problematic for someone who never had full command of the playbook in the first place.
Other details in that article are interesting as well. Donald Penn struggled with his weight, at times ballooning up to 360 lbs, and played with a rubber shirt during practices to lose extra weight. Apparently that didn't help, but his play certainly slid downward during the final month of the season. His performance against the Jacksonville Jaguars was especially embarrassing, as he ended on his back a couple of times.
Another tidbit: after his crucial unsportsmanlike conduct penalty London, Aqib Talib went on a tirade against an official. No complaint was filed, and it really doesn't sound like a big deal - but that's another reason to wonder whether he really has changed. Meanwhile, Mike Williams gained weight during the lockout, then lost 15 pounds during the season, while Josh Freeman's thumb injury details are cleared up. Freeman injured his thumb on the final play against the Chicago Bears, then cut his thumb at the gun range during the bye week that followed the game.
All these details are interesting, but they're mostly just incidents that are only coming out because the team completely melted down during the season. The two things in there that are a little concerning are Donald Penn's weight issues, and Legarrette Blount's work ethic problems - because those aren't incidents, they're structural problems.