Leonard Fournette was a star at LSU and the fourth overall pick in the 2017 NFL draft, so when he was cut by the Jaguars before the season, it was a humbling experience. But Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians says that from the moment Fournette arrived in Tampa Bay, he has gladly played whatever role the coaches asked of him.
Fournette was so little-used at times that the Bucs even made him a healthy scratch, but in the Bucs’ three playoff games he has totaled 48 carries for 202 yards, plus 14 catches for 102 yards. Coach Bruce Arians appreciates Fournette sticking with it through the tough times.
“It’s very, very hard when you’re a superstar and you’re the focal point of the offense and you come to a [different] team and you’re basically a role player for a while,” said Arians. “It’s a very hard role to accept. I just told him, ‘This team is special and you’re a huge part of it. Embrace your role – you never know when your role is going to change.’ Then, Ro got hurt. He got COVID and then he got hurt. I’m really, really proud of Leonard and the way he’s handled it.”
Fournette also had a big role in the Jaguars’ offense in 2017. In six career playoff games, Fournette now has 453 rushing yards, 146 receiving yards and seven touchdowns. His career hasn’t gone according to plan, but he’s had an important part in some big games, with his biggest game on the horizon.