1:52pm: The Steelers have officially promoted Harris from the practice squad to replace Blount, tweets PR man Burt Lauten.
12:32pm: The Steelers have released running back LeGarrette Blount, opening up a spot on the 53-man roster, the team announced today (Twitter link). Pittsburgh becomes the second AFC North team today to cut ties with a notable recently-signed running back, with the Browns waiving Ben Tate earlier in the day.
Blount, who signed with the Steelers in March after a successful postseason reason with the Patriots, came into the season expecting to share the workload with Le’Veon Bell. However, Bell has emerged as one of the top backs in the NFL, relegating Blount to backup duty — the former Buccaneer and Patriot has carried the ball just 65 times this year for 266 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
Things came to a head in Tennessee last night, when Blount left the field before the end of the Steelers’ win over the Titans, as Bell was in the midst of racking up more than 200 yards on the ground. The display didn’t sit well with other players on the roster, as Ray Fittipaldo of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette details. Gerry Dulac of the Post-Gazette (Twitter links) suggested this afternoon that some from of discipline – at least a suspension – would be handed down by head coach Mike Tomlin, but the club elected to go ahead and cut Blount instead.
Like Tate and other players cut after the trade deadline, Blount will have to pass through waivers before becoming a free agent. For teams in need of a running back, Blount will have appeal because of his talent and his inexpensive price tag, but after Monday’s incident, his impact on the clubhouse may be a concern.
As for the Steelers, Dulac (Twitter link) indicated that releasing Blount would likely open up the door for the team to give Dri Archer a larger workload and to sign Josh Harris from off the practice squad.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports.