The Super Bowl champions will be without their top running back for the first contest of the 2015 season, as the NFL has suspended Patriots RB LeGarrette Blount for one game, according to Mike Garafolo of FOX Sports (Twitter link). Blount’s ban is due to a violation of the league’s substance abuse policy, adds Garafolo (via Twitter), and is related to his August 2014 arrest.
Blount was arrested last fall, along with former Steelers teammate Le’Veon Bell, for marijuana possession, but the charges were later dropped after Blount completed community service. Pittsburgh ended up releasing the 28-year-old Blount in November, and after he cleared waivers, he signed on with New England, inking a two-year deal. During five games with the Patriots, Blount rushed for 281 yards and three touchdowns, and added another 189 yards and three scores during the postseason.
The Pats running back depth chart is currently a bit thin, as Blount’s backups are free agent acquisition Travaris Cadet, and second-year players James White and Tyler Gaffney. That trio is probably capable of getting New England through one game without Blount, but it would still be a surprise if the club doesn’t add another RB option, likely through the draft.
As a result of his suspension, Blount will lose about $49K in base salary, and will forfeit another $6,250 in per game roster bonuses.