Leonard Fournette Leaving The Jags Was The Best Thing For His Career

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JACKSONVILLE, FLORIDA – OCTOBER 13: Leonard Fournette #27 of the Jacksonville Jaguars looks on before the start of a game against the New Orleans Saints at TIAA Bank Field on October 13, 2019 in Jacksonville, Florida. (Photo by James Gilbert/Getty Images)

Natavia Reddick, Contributing Writer

Three years ago Leonard Fournette left the AFC Championship defeated by the New England Patriots. This time, he and his former competitor, Tom Brady celebrate.

Leonard Fournette entered the NFL as the 4th draft pick in the 2017 season. The running back finished his rookie year with 1,040 rushing yards and 9 rushing touchdowns playing for the Jacksonville Jaguars.

The 2017 season wasn’t just new for Fournette, it was also new for the Jags. Since 1999, this was their 3rd time in the AFC Championship. Although Fournette scored his first playoff touchdown in his rookie year, he was not able to take home a win.

Leonard Fournette stiff arms his opponent during a game. Photo Courtesy of Getty Images.

During the game, the Patriots were down by 3 points, 4 minutes left on the clock, they got the first down on the 2nd and 2. The clock was under the 3 minute mark, and Tom Brady managed to execute a pass to #80 Danny Amendola. The Patriots then went on to the Super Bowl to compete, where they were defeated by the Philadelphia Eagles. The Jaguars reputation soon took a turn in the following seasons, as several players battled injuries.

Fournette alone, battled a hamstring injury that year. Meanwhile, former Eagles quarterback Nick Foles suffered a broken clavicle in the season opener. By the next two seasons, several key players were released and traded including CB Jalen Ramsey, CB A.J Bouye and DE Calais Campbell. The Jags finished their 2019 season with a record of 6-10 and dramatically plummeted in the 2020 season with a record of 1-15.

It wasn’t long into the 2020 season that Fournette was cut from the Jaguars without an explanation. For head coach Doug Marrone, cutting Fournette, was the best thing for the Jags, “At the end of the day, I’ve got to be able to field a team that gives us the best chance to win,” (John Oehser). At the same time, cutting the former LSU Running Back might have been the best thing for his career. According to Fournette he instantly felt the difference, “you wanna play for an organization that loves you.. uh I can say Tampa Bay truly… treated me like they loved me…it felt like home” (Fournette).

Leonard Fournette of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Photo Courtesy of Getty Images

Since leaving the Jaguars, Fournette made two playoff touchdowns, carrying the ball for 211 yards and scored a touchdown in his first ever Super Bowl with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. In the 2020 season alone the Bucs, finished with a record of 11-5 and a Super Bowl ring. In a First Take Interview Fournette stated that he did not know why he was cut from the Jaguars. In fact, he stated that the differences between a championship team and a starting team like the Jags, is the “head coach and the organization” (Fournette). Likewise, Ramsey also had issues with the front office prior to leaving the Jaguars. Leonard Fournette was a key contributor in the Buccaneers playoff run and is now a world champion. He is able to play alongside the G.O.A.T, Tom Brady and other essential players like Mike Evans and Chris Godwin. Fournette was almost cut by the Buccaneers in week 14, but this fire gave him motivation. Regardless of his downfalls, ‘Playoff Lenny’ mentioned that he was “blessed” to work alongside Brady, and that it was an eye opener to learn from someone who works hard to build his team.

Natavia Reddick, Contributing Writer

References

Encina, E. (2021, February 08). Leonard FOURNETTE comes through with a Super Bowl performance to remember. Retrieved February 15, 2021, from https://www.tampabay.com/sports/bucs/2021/02/08/leonard-fournette-comes-through-with-a-sup er-bowl-performance-to-remember/

Encina, E. (2021, February 08). Leonard FOURNETTE comes through with a Super Bowl performance to remember. Retrieved February 15, 2021, from https://www.tampabay.com/sports/bucs/2021/02/08/leonard-fournette-comes-through-with-a-sup er-bowl-performance-to-remember/

Gene frenette: UP-DOWN career of Fournette reborn again IN bucs’ Super bowl triumph. (n.d.). Retrieved February 15, 2021, from https://www.google.com/amp/s/amp.jacksonville.com/amp/4442144001

Kelly, D. (2021, February 3). Leonard Fournette Has a Chance to Rewrite the Narrative of His Career in Super Bowl LV. Retrieved from https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.theringer.com/platform/amp/nfl-playoffs/2021/2/3/222633 99/leonard-fournette-tampa-bay-buccaneers-career-narrative-legacy

Oehser, J. (2020, August 31). “At the end of the day, I’ve got to be able to field a team that gives us the best chance to win…”– JAGUARS HC Doug MARRONE on WAIVING RB LEONARD FOURNETTE. Retrieved February 15, 2021, from https://twitter.com/JohnOehser/status/1300419260490149888

Patra, K. (2021, January 25). Buccaneers RB LEONARD Fournette ‘THANKFUL for my JOURNEY’ from waiver wire to Super Bowl. Retrieved February 15, 2021, from https://www.nfl.com/news/leonard-fournette-helping-buccaneers-make-super-bowl-appearance

Writer, R. (2021, February 08). Leonard FOURNETTE lives up To ‘Playoff Lenny’ nickname, earns Super Bowl ring. Retrieved February 15, 2021, from https://www.nola.com/sports/article_be29285a-69e9-11eb-b5f7-d3d6a4d3ef8b.html