The time I met LeGarrette Blount, Buccaneers RB

By Ben Bartenstein

What’s a guy to do when he’s got three free hours late on a Wednesday night in Minneapolis? After leaving an event at the Star Tribune last week, I found myself in this very dilemma. It was Fall Break, and I had booked an 11:45 p.m. MegaBus ride home to Milwaukee. Looking for a building to sit in to wait for the bus, I settled on the Depot Hotel on 3rd Ave. I found myself a seat on a bench inside, near the elevator, and began to read. Not ten minutes passed before I heard the loud chatter of five big men approaching me. One of them wore a red sweatshirt with what looked like a pirate on it. Another carried a bag that said ‘Pitt Football.’ I wasn’t completely sure who these men were, but I had an inkling they were members of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The men waited by the elevator, but changed their minds a few seconds later. They had to get to the team dinner. As they walked past a security guard, one of the players asked, “Do you know where the weight room is around here?” This encounter sent me into a frenzy. The reporter in me said, “Go up and talk to them.” My Midwestern self thought, “They have a game tomorrow, let them be.” And, my unimpressionable self argued, “They’re really no different than anyone else.” So, I put my book away, grabbed my recorder, and walked towards a group of players that were leaving the dinner. As I caught up to a guy with dreadlocks, I asked, “Are you here for the game?” “Yeah,” he said. “What’s your name?” I asked. “LeGarrette,” he said. The wheels inside my head began to churn. “Wow,” I thought. “I’m actually talking to LeGarrette Blount, running back for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.” He stopped at the ATM down the hall, and we talked for a few minutes as 20 upon 20 dropped out of the machine. He told me that the team dinner was almost over, and he was going up to his room soon. He said that we were standing directly in between the dinner room and the players’ rooms. “They’re all gonna walk by here,” he told me. “You guys gonna win?” I asked. “Hopefully,” said Blount, while keeping his eyes on the ATM screen. “How many TD’s are you putting up?” I continued. “Hopefully, two,” he said. “Would I be able to get a picture with you?” I asked. He said yes, but his eyes remained intent on the screen. After a minute, he turned around, and we posed for a picture. Then he told me had to get some sleep. “See yuh,” he said, as he walked down the hall. I took a seat again and resumed my reading. The minutes began to pass, and the hotel quieted down. After a period of silence, someone yelled, “Josh.” I looked up and saw a tall man carrying a folder that read, FREEMAN. “Where yuh goin’?” the other guy asked. “I’ve got bible study,” said Josh Freeman, the Buccaneers starting quarterback. And I had a bus to catch. refresh –>