Friday, October 2, 2009
Will Blount be reinstated?
By ESPN.com staff ESPN.com
Posted by ESPN.com's Ted Miller
Reinstatement is now an option for suspended Oregon running back LeGarrette Blount, according to ESPN's Joe Schad.
AP Photo/Matt Cilley
LeGarrette Blount has missed three games so far due to the postgame incident against Boise State.
It appears coach Chip Kelly and the school have re-evaluated the situation and will make an announcement on the decision change Friday.
Blount published a letter of apology in the school paper on Thursday in which he wrote, "I do not expect to be given a second chance to be a positive and responsible member of the football program and of this community."
Perhaps that was laying the groundwork for that very thing.
From a PR perspective, the timing is good for such a news-making decision.
Oregon's 42-3 win over California and return to the national rankings invested the program with a sense of stability and comfort under Kelly after the embarrassing loss at Boise State, which was followed by Blount's postgame meltdown.
The Ducks don't appear to need Blount to win. This decision would look less savory if the program were in a tailspin.
But make no mistake: Blount's 240 pounds will be a big addition to a backfield that has flourished of late with super-quick slasher LaMichael James, who's eclipsed the 100-yard mark in the past two games. That power element will come in handy -- see Blount's 1,000 yards and 17 touchdowns in 2008.
While some will now commence their self-righteous fulminating about the need for Blount to suffer, suffer, suffer for punching a Boise State player who was taunting him, clear-thinking folks will recognize this as a good call.
Blount, who sat out three games but continued to practice with the team and attend classes, has a chance to make a living playing football. He has a new child. Oregon can help him make a better life for himself and his family.
The school owes him, too. In 2008, he helped Oregon finish ranked in the nation's top 10.
He's suffered public humiliation and vilification to the highest degree. He will never be able to completely buck this incident. He will always be a cautionary tale. Every mention of his name will provoke a recollection of how he behaved on Sept. 3.
That's his burden, one that he will carry as he moves on with his life.