LeGarrette Blount’s football career has been chock full of ups and downs and challenges and success.
It’s been a winding road that’s including a handful of teams and victories and, now, another chance at a championship as the Eagles running back squares off against the New England Patriots in this year’s Super Bowl. Of course, for an added bit of drama, Blount played for the Patriots in the 2017 Super Bowl.
No matter what happens in the game, though, Blount can be confident he’ll have his own personal cheering section in Minnesota. Here’s everything you need to know about the Blount family:
1. Blount & Girlfriend Merissa McCullugh Met in College
Blount’s career at Oregon was far from easy. The future pro was suspended just a day after the start of the 2009 season after he punched Boise State defensive end Byron Hout in the jaw. The punishment kept Blount off the field for much of his senior year and while he drew plenty of criticism for the swing, there were a still a few people in his corner – including then-girlfriend Merissa McCullugh.
According to ESPN, the pair met during the early days of his college career and as Blount tried to regain his footing after the suspension relied heavily on McCullugh’s support. The pair welcomed their son, LeGarrette Rashon Blount, Jr., during the suspension and his determination to be a good father helped spark Blount’s return to the field.
“They kept telling me that I’d get a shot at the NFL and I should keep my head up,” Blount said. “They told me to stay in shape for when my opportunity came.”
2. His Son Is a Frequent Star on Blount’s Instagram
He’s already got the ups. LeGarrette Jr. is, of course, a big-time fan of football and a big-time fan of hamming it up for the camera. The mini-athlete is a frequent star on his dad’s social media accounts and he’s more than ready to showcase his own NFL-caliber talent.
The father and son have always been close. In fact, according to ESPN, Blount became such a dedicated father that, after hearing his son was getting cold in the hospital room just after he was born, actually took off his shirt and wrapped it around the newborn.
3. Blount Credits His Father for Inspiring His NFL Dream
Blount always wanted to be like his father when he grew up. So he started playing football. The Eagles running back told ESPN:
In my hometown [Perry, Florida], my dad [Gary Blount] was a pretty big deal. His class went to the state championship a couple of times in a row. He was a middle linebacker and fullback, and everybody said to me, ‘Are you going to be a football player like your dad?’ I always watched football with him, and it just evolved from there.
Gary Blount was a middle linebacker in high school, leading Taylor County High to a 1977 state runner-up finish and, most importantly, inspiring his son’s success on the gridiron. Blount also played for Taylor County during high school, racking up over 3,700 rushing yards, evading tacklers and developing a reputation as a hard-nosed competitor who’d plow over the first defender in his way.
4. His Mother Helped Him Find His Footing in College
Blount’s took the road less traveled during his college career. He started at East Mississippi Community College, where he rushed for over 2,200 yards and 18 touchdowns, before transferring to Oregon. His time with the Ducks was marred by his senior-season suspension, however, but Blount is quick to point out that his mother, Barbara, was his rock throughout every tumultuous twist and turn.
Barbara was in the stands when Blount and Oregon defeated Ohio State 26-17 in the Rose Bowl that year and she said the chance to see her son playing on such a huge stage was one she refused to miss:
I won’t lie to you. Me being a parent and having to deal with that and not be able to do anything was hard. But he was my strength. We talked the next day and the day after that and the day after that. I talk to him every day, and every day he tells me the same thing: It’ll be OK, mama. I’m OK.
Barbara said Blount considered coming back home after his suspension, but his mother did her best to keep him on track. She made phone calls and spoke to NCAA officials about Blount’s return and tried to ignore all the negative press. “With all the publicity that brought, I didn’t question him about,” she said. “I just let him know that I’m here and I love him — not to question him or judge him.”
Blount’s journey to NFL success hasn’t been easy, but he did his best to pay his mother back for all of her support. He bought her a new car.
5. Blount’s Children Were at the 2017 Super Bowl
It was a family affair in Houston as Blount’s two children joined him postgame after the Patriots topped the Atlanta Falcons in the Super Bowl. Blount’s family were frequent visitors while the running back played in New England.
His son, who friends and family call LB, was spotted in the locker room after the AFC Championship as well. Dad and son sported matching team-branded gear and Blount’s ‘Patricia’ hoodie sparked chatter across social media.
Blount won’t likely be wearing any New England gear this Super Bowl, but at the time, Patricia told ESPN: “LeGarrette, he’s absolutely great. He’s one of the guys I look to every day — he loves to play, he loves to work at the game and he does a great job for us. He picks you up every single day.”