Leonard Fournette found a home in Tampa Bay this season and caught fire in the playoffs. However, this story was very close to never happening. According to Tampa Bay Buccaneers Head Coach, Bruce Arians, Fournette was ready to ask for his release prior to the playoffs.
Fournette was cut by Jacksonville prior to the 2020-21 season kickoff. Nevertheless, Fournette found himself on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and firmly thrust into a win-now situation. Sharing backfield snaps with Ronald Jones II was not exactly Fournette’s cup of tea, as he only managed 69 rushing attempts for 271 yards and three TDs, while adding 28 catches for 171 yards, through the first 12 weeks. There was talk of Fournette not even being worthy of a roster spot anymore.
Bruce Arians Gave Fournette a Challenge
Arians told Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times, that he and Fournette had a very open conversation following Week 14. In which Fournette was a healthy scratch.
‘This is your situation. It can change at the drop of a hat,’ “But this is your situation. Either embrace it, or you say, ‘Cut me.’ I said, ‘What do you want? Because this is a very special team that you’re part of. I think you’ve got a feeling of that. Just see if you can hang in there to see what happens.’ And he did, and I’m really proud of him.”Bruce Arians
The following performance from Fournette was nothing short of miraculous. Fournette turned into Playoff Lenny and carried the Bucs offense throughout the playoffs. Ultimately, ending in Tampa hoisting the Lombardi Trophy. In four playoff games, Fournette rushed 64 times for 300 yards and three TDs, including 89 yards and a TD in the Super Bowl, and added another 148 yards and another score on 18 catches.
Nevertheless, the great Super Bowl run Tampa went on may have ended very differently if Fournette had asked to be cut. There are always stories like these involved within certain teams’ Super Bowl runs.
However, Fournette stayed with the team swallowed his pride, and waited for his chance. In that chance, Playoff Lenny was born and he shall forever be immortalized in the annals of Super Bowl lore.