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Legarrette Blount wants to start, sees himself as three-down back

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May 15, 2012; Tampa, FL, USA;  Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back LeGarrette Blount (27) runs with the ball during work outs during organized team activities at One Buc.   Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-US PRESSWIRE
May 15, 2012; Tampa, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back LeGarrette Blount (27) runs with the ball during work outs during organized team activities at One Buc. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-US PRESSWIRE

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have finally brought the rookies and veterans together for their first practice sessions, and Legarrette Blount is feeling the heat in a competition for playing time with rookies Doug Martin and Michael Smith. But Blount isn't backing away from this challenge: he wants the starting job and the third-down job, and is out to prove himself as the best running back on the team.

"I think nobody can affect my carries but me," Blount told the Tampa Bay Times. "Don't nobody affect my carries but me, not what he does, not what anybody else does, just how I practice and how fast I get the offense down pat and everything like that. That's the only thing that will affect my carries.''

Legarrette Blount has been an effective running back through his first two seasons in the league, despite some issues with fumbles. But he has yet to prove himself as a reliable third-down option - and I don't think he will. Don't tell that to the third-year back, though, who sees the competition as just what he needs to prove himself.

"I think I will become a better player having other guys compete for the job,'' Blount said to the Tampa Bay Times. "Them drafting a running back might have been what I needed to become an every down back. So, you know, you've got to compete, you've got to be a competitor and competition is what makes guys better than what they would usually be."

Blount has his work cut out for him if he wants to be a three-down back. But he will fight for his job, and that should at least give him a chance to win it.